Aquatic organisms often hitch a ride in the ballast tanks of ocean-crossing ships, ending up in ports far from their native habitats. Upon arrival, these alien species can wreak havoc in their new environs, forcing out native species and incurring huge economic costs. Now a new report published in the journal Biological Conservation suggests that a certain anti-corrosion technique could help prevent such invasions while saving the shipping industry hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
Corrosion of the ballast tanks of cargo vessels represents a significant cost to the shipping industry. Currently, coats of expensive paint are used to prevent oxidation and rust. The new technique, developed by Japanese scientists, bubbles nitrogen gas through the ballast water to reduce oxygen levels, thereby decreasing oxidation and rust. Noting that many aquatic organisms are also sensitive to oxygen levels, Mario Tamburri of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) and colleagues mimicked the conditions in these deoxygenated ballast tanks in the laboratory. They subjected three invasive species currently found in U.S waters—an Australian tubeworm, the common European green shore crab and the European zebra mussel—to the oxygen-deprived aquatic conditions and found that most of the larvae died after two or three days. Considering that major ocean crossings take weeks, the researchers suggest all the larvae would have perished in that time.
Though some species—such as anaerobic bacteria or organisms with cyst stages—could survive a transoceanic trip in a nitrogen-treated tank, the new technique still provides an environmentally benign and economically attractive method for reducing the number of potential invaders. "Deoxygenation was seen as too expensive for controlling invasive species in ballast water," Tamburri says, "but our study shows that the anticorrosion benefit of this technique is a strong economic incentive for the shipping industry."
Sarah Graham | Scientific American
Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide
Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences