Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Biologists have explored how testate amoebae survive in peat fires

19.06.2017

Scientists have studied the impact of wildfire on testate amoebae

An International team from China University of Geosciences, University of York and Lomonosov Moscow State University have studied the impact of wildfire on testate amoebae -- one of the dominant microbial groups in peat bogs. The biologists' research has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Applied Soil Ecology.


The testate amoebae Lesquereusia epistomium is pictured.

Credit: Yuri Mazei

Testate amoebae significantly affect biochemical processes in peatland ecosystems. However, little is known about the effect of such wildfires on microbial components of bog ecosystems.

Testate amoebae are unicellular organisms, largely enclosed by a shell. They comprise up to half of all microbial biomass in peatlands. Changes in their community structure under fire exposure can have significant impacts on the structure of food webs since alteration of one important food web component influences all the others. Presence of testate amoebae in a local ecosystem also has an effect on intensity of the silicon cycle.

Silicon is the second (after oxygen) most common chemical element in the crust of the Earth. However, only a few organisms have learnt to include this inorganic silicon into their cell composition, using it as a material of construction and also for performing many physiological functions. Some groups of testate amoebae (namely, that ones, which use silica plates for making their shells, laying these plates on the surface of the shell like roof tile) could "dissolve" solid silicon-containing components from the environment and produce out of them plates, used for constructing their shells. In other words, testate amoebae constitute one of the links in the silicon cycle.

The scientists chose a peatland in the northeast China, exposed to wildfire several years ago, as an object of research. The territory investigated consisted of heavily and slightly burned areas (due to the fact that firemen managed to put out a fire on a part of the bog). This provided the opportunity to compare communities of testate amoebae from parts exposed and non-exposed to fire.

It was found out that fire led to significant changes in the structure of the testate amoeba community. That microorganisms, which make their shells out of sandgrains, survived, while, the others, using silica plates synthesized inside the cells to make the shells, died. The scientists assumed that amoebae, making their shells out of sandgrains, are more resistant to high temperatures, since their shells are thicker and more solid due to these grains of sand.

Professor Yuri Mazei from the Department of Hydrobiology at the Faculty of Biology of the Lomonosov Moscow State University has described the method of investigation of testate amoebae:

"At first testate amoebae are separated from a soil or moss substrate. After that the flask with this suspension is intensively shaken up and passed through a number of filters so that only amoebae shells and small suspended particles are left. Afterwards, the final filtrate is put under a light microscope. Sometimes scientists use a scanning electron microscope in order to identify species."

Researchers from the Lomonosov Moscow State University, the University of Yorkand the University of Penza have previously proved that studies of testate amoebae's communities could be an effective tool for reconstructions of climatic changes in the past. The results obtained in this study will also allow the consideration of modern processes when conducting paleoecological reconstructions in burned peatlands.

Yuri Mazei comments on the project results: "In peatland columns there are often layers, containing charcoal, showing that the ecosystem burned at that time and these layers can contain testate amoebae. However, if you want to correctly reconstruct climate in such a layer, it's necessary to understand how testate amoeba communities respond to wildfire in current conditions. Our research has identified these peculiarities for the first time, which should improve existing approaches to palaeoreconstructions".

Media Contact

Yana Khlyustova
science-release@rector.msu.ru

http://www.msu.ru 

Yana Khlyustova | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht In focus: Peptides, the “little brothers and sisters” of proteins
12.11.2018 | Technische Universität Berlin

nachricht How to produce fluorescent nanoparticles for medical applications in a nuclear reactor
09.11.2018 | Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IOCB Prague)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

Im Focus: Nanorobots propel through the eye

Scientists developed specially coated nanometer-sized vehicles that can be actively moved through dense tissue like the vitreous of the eye. So far, the transport of nano-vehicles has only been demonstrated in model systems or biological fluids, but not in real tissue. The work was published in the journal Science Advances and constitutes one step further towards nanorobots becoming minimally-invasive tools for precisely delivering medicine to where it is needed.

Researchers of the “Micro, Nano and Molecular Systems” Lab at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, together with an international...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Peptides, the “little brothers and sisters” of proteins

12.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Materials scientist creates fabric alternative to batteries for wearable devices

12.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

A two-atom quantum duet

12.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>