Whereas sampling with different kinds of equipment is normally used to collect information on bottom fauna, a specially designed video rig has allowed the scientists to film 80 kilometres of seabed during their survey off the coast of northern Norway. The seabed in the area is characterised by deep fjords and shelf areas with fishing banks and intersecting channels. Many of the habitats found here are complex and not easily documented with standard sampling gears.
Sunstar (Solaster sp.) at 300 metres depth in the Barents Sea.
A small bubble gum coral (Paragorgia arborea) with various epifauna attached, at 200 metres depth in a fjord.
Better knowledge of the ecosystem
The recent survey was conducted as part of a large-scale mapping programme. Biologists from the Institute of Marine Research, geologists from the Geological Survey of Norway, and cartographers from the Norwegian Hydrographic Service cooperate through the MAREANO programme to provide maps of topography, biodiversity and geological conditions of the seabed in Norwegian waters. Initially focusing on the Barents Sea, the first phase of MAREANO will be carried out from 2005-2010 with a total cost of € 30 million.
The importance of this seabed mapping is emphasised in the Integrated Management Plan for the Barents Sea recently presented by the Norwegian Government. Extensive plans for exploitation of oil and gas reserves in Lofoten and the Barents Sea are being considered, and a sustainable management of the area is highly dependent on improved knowledge of the Arctic ecosystems.
Yvonne Robberstad | alfa
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Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.
Graphene is up to the job
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
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