Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How the clear blue Med is washed up and dead

01.12.2004


As millions of holidaymakers will testify, the Mediterranean is uniquely clear – and blue – unlike the cloudy grey of many coastal waters. But how many of its grateful bathers realise that the Med is so crystal clear because it’s the ocean equivalent of the Sahara desert?



A Leeds-led team of international scientists studying the fragile marine ecosystem of the Eastern Mediterranean has found that the reason the waters are so transparent is an acute shortage of phosphates – vital elements at the bottom of the marine food chain.

Currents through the Straits of Sicily are ‘washing’ nutrient-rich waters out of the Mediterranean, and bringing in fresh surface water which has no nutrients. Without these fertilisers, plankton cannot grow, depriving bacteria of the food they need to process the extra nitrates in the water, and release them into the atmosphere as nitrogen. Thus the seas of the Mediterranean have a build-up of nitrates – around twice as much, proportionately, as the other oceans of the world – but few plants and nutrients to cloud the water.


Leeds earth and biosphere institute director Professor Michael Krom said: “Many of the great ancient civilisations have developed on the shores of the Eastern Mediterranean, and more recently it has become home to millions of people and the holiday destination for millions more.” “But despite all these people, the waters have remained clear deep blue, rather than the murky grey associated with highly populated areas whose waste products normally increase nutrient levels in the seas into which they flow.”

Professor Krom’s team, drawn from seven countries, has finally provided the link between the ‘blueness’ of the Mediterranean, and its high imbalance of phosphates and nitrates. “The oceans are the life support system of the planet, and so understanding the elements controlling plant growth in the oceans is a big deal,” said Professor Krom.

The research results will be fed into the Mediterranean forecasting system, which is developing the world’s first ‘weather forecast’ for ocean waters.

Vanessa Bridge | alfa
Further information:
http://reporter.leeds.ac.uk/503/s1.htm
http://www.leeds.ac.uk

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>