Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists find formula to uncover our planet's past and help predict its future

28.05.2009
Studies of climate evolution and the ecology of past-times are often hampered by lost information – lost variables needed to complete the picture have been long thought untraceable but scientists have created a formula which will fill in the gaps of our knowledge and will help predict the future.

A novel method of reconstructing missing data will shed new light on how and why our climate moved us on from ice ages to warmer periods as researchers will be able to calculate lost information and put together a more complete picture.

Similarly they will be able to tackle ecological studies that are currently incomplete or distorted. Why do populations of animals like rabbits and foxes fluctuate so dramatically? Which factors most heavily influence population decline and, eventually, lead to extinction?

Published in the June issue of New Journal of Physics (co-owned by the Institute of Physics and German Physical Society) the paper 'Recovering "lost" information in the presence of noise: Application to rodent-predator dynamics' offers a solution to the problem of reconstructing missing or lost information in studies of dynamical systems such as the Earth's climate or animal populations.

It could potentially uncover new findings on topical scientific issues such as climate change and the extreme population fluctuations in some animal species.

By developing a novel Hamiltonian approach to the problem, using a mathematical algorithm, assuming the dynamics of each system has unknown parameters and that the data are distorted by random fluctuations, the researchers from California and Lancaster were able to successfully recreate measurements in a study on a vole-mustelid community.

Many small mammalian species have cyclic population dynamics, periodically oscillating between large and small communities, a behavioral phenomenon which has puzzled ecologists for decades. Reconstructed data on such predator-prey dynamics could now give new insight into why some species suddenly decline.

Climate evolution is subject to similar cyclical variations, which could be uncovered by applying the method to measuring the distribution of isotopes in sediments taken from the ocean floor, potentially giving further insight into the reasons behind climate change.

As the researchers write, "The method will also be applicable quite generally to cases where some state variables could not be recorded." These could include, not only climate change and ecology, but also contexts such as populations at risk from epidemics and rocket motors for new space crew exploration vehicles.

Lena Weber | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.iop.org

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

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...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

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

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

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...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent

25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>