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
A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences