Marianne Douglas, Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Science and Director of the Canadian Circumpolar Institute at the University of Alberta, and John Smol, Professor of Biology at Queen’s University, studied these unique Arctic ponds for the past 24 years, collecting detailed data such as water quality and water levels from approximately 40 ponds. Collectively, this data represents the longest record of systematic limnological (the science of the properties of fresh water) monitoring from the high Arctic.
Over the 24 years the researchers spent monitoring the ponds, they recorded evidence of recent lower water levels and changes in water chemistry consistent with an increase in evaporation/precipitation ratios (E/P) and warmer temperatures. Until recently, the ponds of the study sites were permanent features of the landscape, but in early July 2006, because of warming trends in the Arctic, several of the main study ponds dried up completely, whereas others had dramatically reduced water levels.
“It was quite shocking to see some of our largest study ponds dry up by early summer,” said Douglas.
The ecological ramifications of these changes are likely severe and will be felt throughout the Arctic ecosystem, says Douglas. It would affect waterfowl habitat and breeding grounds, invertebrate population dynamics and food for insectivores and drinking water for animals, to name only a few.
“These surface water ponds are so important because they are often hotspots of biodiversity and production for microorganisms, plants and animals in this otherwise extreme terrestrial environment.” said Douglas.
In February 2007, Dr. Douglas and a group of researchers met with European VIPS to discuss Canada’s role in the climate-change discussion. Josh Ashton, England’s special representative for climate change at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Henry Derwent, director of climate, energy and environment risk at the UK Department for Environment, toured Canada to talk with scientists, industry representatives and policy-makers about global warming.
Kris Connor | alfa
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde
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...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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