Shrubs have become more abundant in the Arctic over the past 30 years as air temperatures have increased, a change that is likely to affect the grazing of caribou and the communities that rely on them for food. According to an article in the January 2005 issue of BioScience, a variety of evidence now suggests that winter biological processes form a positive feedback mechanism that is contributing to the expansion of shrubs in the Arctic. The effect could have important implications for the global carbon budget, as the mechanism may liberate large stores of carbon that are currently frozen and not participating in the carbon cycle.
The article, by Matthew Sturm of the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory-Alaska and seven coauthors, notes that the evidence for increasing shrub abundance--including historical photographs-- is most comprehensive in northern Alaska. Information from other arctic regions supports the idea, however. Sturms group argues that observations indicate that shrubs encourage deeper snowdrifts, which warm the soil below, preventing some subsurface water from freezing even during winter. This effect alters and boosts the winter activity of subsurface soil bacteria and fungi that provide accessible nutrients for shrubs, notably nitrogen. As a result, shrubs grow more rapidly, and so the spread continues.
Donna Royston | EurekAlert!
The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences
Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
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07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
07.12.2016 | Life Sciences
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine