The coral reefs of New Caledonia, a major focus of marine biodiversity, are exceptional as subjects for investigation by zoologists and ecologists. They harbour an extraordinary profusion of species, representing one of the most complex ecosystems in the world’s oceans. Exploration of a single bay, during the Lifou 2000 research campaign, found a treasure trove of discoveries highly stimulating for scientific imagination and debate.
The scientific survey LIFOU 2000, organized and led jointly by the French National Museum of Natural History (MNHN) and the Instituit de recherche pour le développement (IRD), was conducted at Lifou (Loyalty Islands Province) in October and November 2000. It brought together an international team of 35 scientists, with the logistical means of IRD and the support of the TotalFina Elf Foundation. Unlike the main island, Grande-Terre, surrounded by a lagoon, Lifou is a raised atoll, a large flat island with no rivers. Its reefs plunge straight down to the abyssal depths. The invertebrate fauna had not been studied there since the days of pioneering research by missionaries – over 100 years ago.
An array of collection approaches was used, including diving, drag-netting and harvesting specimens at low tide. This wide-ranging biological survey revealed a magnificent diversity of tropical fauna. It found at Lifou, over an area of barely 5000 ha, nearly 3000 species of mollusc living, which is 1.5 times as many as in the entire Mediterranean (3 million km_) ! Moreover, which is striking, most of the species are rare or even very rare. In fact 28% of them have been seen only once and 22% are represented only by single examples. The samples collected from Lifou 2000, which include several hundred unknown species, signify a world first : the survey is the only study to have available an exhaustive quantified inventory of the species richness of a whole site. An international network of 120 taxonomists is being coordinated by the MNHN to study this wealth of fauna. Many more years of investigation will be needed before these samples can yield all the information they hold.
Helene Deval | alphagalileo
Researchers reveal new details on aged brain, Alzheimer's and dementia
21.11.2017 | Allen Institute
Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development
21.11.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Silicatforschung ISC
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.11.2017 | Materials Sciences
21.11.2017 | Health and Medicine