A report issued by the Royal Society in the U.K. sounds the alarm about the worlds oceans. "If CO2 from human activities continues to rise, the oceans will become so acidic by 2100 it could threaten marine life in ways we cant anticipate," commented Dr. Ken Caldeira, co-author of the report and a newly appointed staff scientist at the Carnegie Institutions Department of Global Ecology in Stanford, California.* The report on ocean acidification was released today by the Royal Society.
Many scientists view the worlds oceans as an important sink for capturing the human-induced greenhouse gas CO2 and slowing global warming. Marine plants soak up CO2 as they breathe it in and convert it to food during photosynthesis. Organisms also use it to make their skeletons and shells, which eventually form sediments. With the explosion of fossil-fuel burning over the past 200 years, it has been estimated that more than a third of the human-originated greenhouse gas has been absorbed by the oceans. While marine organisms need CO2 to survive, work by Caldeira and colleagues shows that too much CO2 in the ocean could lead to ecological disruption and extinctions in the marine environment.
When CO2 gas dissolves into the ocean it produces carbonic acid, which is corrosive to shells of marine organisms and can interfere with the oxygen supply. If current trends continue, the scientists believe the acidic water could interrupt the process of shell and coral formation and adversely affect other organisms dependent upon corals and shellfish. The acidity could also negatively impact other calcifying organisms, such as phytoplankton and zooplankton, some of the most important players at the base of the planets food chain.
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Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
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Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
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At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
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Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
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