The hydrological regime of the inner delta of the River Niger, situated in Mali, is subject to strong annual and indeed intra-annual variability. This delta ecosystem has a characteristic feature, a three-phase cycle. The first, a period of flood, starts in July marking the beginning of the cycle; then, after several months of rising water-levels, the flood recedes, between November and January; finally, a period of low water prevails between March and June.
The river’s various fish species are adapted to this cycle of alternating conditions. Feeding, growth and mortality depend on that rhythm. The flood scatters the fish away from the river bed and brings abundant food. It provides refuge areas, environments where reproduction can take place undisturbed. Growth then proceeds until the waters are in recession, a period of high natural mortality. Fishing effort has to follow the rhythm set by the succession of flood and recession. Most campaigns are concentrated in the period of flood retreat which heralds the return of fish into the fluvial zone and their unavoidable movement through the channels fishermen know well – and when their capturability is highest. Activity diminishes and the season ends with the onset of the next flood, when again the fish are dispersed into flooded areas.
Fishing activity is therefore dependent on the hydrological seasons. Two measurable hydrological parameters can express these: rainfall and river discharge. IRD scientists have sought to determine the extent to which these two variables can provide the basis for a model for predicting annual capturable fish stocks. The team focused first on defining which of the indicators was most pertinent, secondly on finding the number of years’ worth of data necessary for obtaining a reliable forecast.
Marie-Lise Sabrie | alphagalileo
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15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
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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...
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...
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25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy