COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Across North America, streams and rivers are becoming saltier, thanks to road deicers, fertilizers and other salty compounds that humans indirectly release into waterways. At the same time, freshwater supplies are also becoming more alkaline. (more…)
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Ocean researchers working on the coral reefs of Palau in 2011 and 2012 made two unexpected discoveries that could provide insight into corals’ resistance and resilience to ocean acidification, and aid in the creation of a plan to protect them.
The team collected water samples at nine points along a transect that stretched from the open ocean, across the barrier reef, into the lagoon and then into the bays and inlets around the Rock Islands of Palau, in the western Pacific Ocean. With each location they found that the seawater became increasingly acidic as they moved toward land. (more…)
UD-developed smart gels deliver medicine on demand
Researchers at the University of Delaware have developed a “smart” hydrogel that can deliver medicine on demand, in response to mechanical force.
Over the past few decades, smart hydrogels have been created that respond to pH, temperature, DNA, light and other stimuli. (more…)
In the late 1990s, the University of Washington created what was arguably the world’s first graduate program in astrobiology, aimed at preparing scientists to hunt for life away from Earth. In 2001, David Catling became one of the first people brought to the UW specifically to teach astrobiology.
Catling, a UW professor of Earth and space sciences, is the author of Astrobiology: A Very Short Introduction, the 370th offering in the Oxford University Press series of “very short introduction” books by experts in various fields. Catling was commissioned by editors to write the book, which was published in the United States on Jan. 1. Following are his answers to some questions about the book and astrobiology. (more…)
Splitting water into its components, two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, is an important first step in achieving carbon-neutral fuels to power our transportation infrastructure – including automobiles and planes.
Now, North Carolina State University researchers and colleagues from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have shown that a specialized coating technique can make certain water-splitting devices more stable and more efficient. Their results are published online in two separate papers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (more…)
Finds surprising growth patterns in the Florida Keys
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A new more sensitive weight-based approach for monitoring coral growth in the wild has been developed by U.S. Geological Survey researchers leading to more definitive answers about the status of coral reefs.
Corals and other marine organisms build their skeletons and shells through calcification, the biological process of secreting calcium carbonate obtained from ocean water. This new approach to measuring corals can provide finer-scale resolution than traditional linear measurements of coral growth. (more…)
UD professors study microbes as potential biomarkers for damaged concrete
Concrete is the most widely used construction material in the world. However, many concrete roadways and bridges crack due to internal chemical reactions, temperature fluctuations or external chemical and physical stresses.
One internal chemical reaction is the Alkali-Silica Reaction (ASR) that destroys the concrete from within. (more…)
Patterns Also Shed Light on How Environmental Disturbances Affect Aquatic Organisms
The ability of deep-sea corals to harbor a broad array of marine life, including commercially important fish species, make these habitat-forming organisms of immediate interest to conservationists, managers, and scientists. Understanding and protecting corals requires knowledge of the historical processes that have shaped their biodiversity and biogeography.
While little is known about these processes, new research described in the journal Molecular Ecology helps elucidate the historical patterns of deep-sea coral migration and gene flow, coincident with oceanic circulation patterns and events. The investigators propose a scenario that could explain the observed evolutionary and present-day patterns in certain coral species. The findings can help scientists determine how climate change and other global processes have affected ocean habitats in the past and how they might do so in the future. (more…)