New research shows that what was once considered a universal constant in oceanography could actually vary in the future – depending on the ecological scenarios that affect competition for resources among microscopic marine plants, which play a role in global climate.
Microscopic image shows clumped cells of blue-green algae, a type of phytoplankton that lives in marine and freshwater environments. Phytoplankton are a rich food source for fish, and they affect global climate by using atmospheric carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.
Photo by Hans Paerl, Courtesy University of North Carolinas Endeavors Magazine.
The future of these plants, called phytoplankton, is important because they exist at the base of the marine food web and represent a large source of food for fish. Also, they affect global climate by using atmospheric carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.
Phytoplankton depend upon nitrogen and phosphorus to grow and, ultimately, replenish the supply of these nutrients in the ocean. Since the 1930s, scientists have known that the average nitrogen-to-phosphorus (N:P) nutrient ratio of phytoplankton closely mirrors the N:P ratio in the ocean – 15:1 for the plants and 16:1 for the water. Scientists accepted this as a constant called the Redfield ratio, named after the late Harvard University scientist Alfred Redfield.
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Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
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A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
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18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy