The natural vegetation covering the globe looks like it does because of the climate, doesnt it? Forests are found where water is abundant and it is not too cold, deserts are found where it is dry. This is what our intuition tells us – but it is not always true.
New research carried out by Bond, Woodward and Midgley from University of Cape Town, University of Sheffield and the South African National Biodiversity Institute of and published in the February 2005 issue of New Phytologist has shown that a potent force overrides climate in shaping vegetation – fire.
Much of the world is covered by vegetation that seems out of place, for example in Mediterranean regions of South Africa low shrublands are found where rainfall is great enough to support forests. We also know, from satellite imagery, that wildfires are a global phenomenon occurring on all vegetated continents. Bond et al. suspected that fires are common in areas where vegetation does not "fit" the climate. If true, this suggests that fire has a major effect on the ecosystems of the world. So, how different would the world look if we could switch fire off?
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For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
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Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
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