Tag Archives: seawater

New Studies of Ancient Concrete Could Teach Us to Do as the Romans Did

Berkeley Lab, UC Berkeley experiments show how natural chemistry strengthened ancient concrete

A new look inside 2,000-year-old concrete – made from volcanic ash, lime (the product of baked limestone), and seawater – has provided new clues to the evolving chemistry and mineral cements that allow ancient harbor structures to withstand the test of time. The research has also inspired a hunt for the original recipe so that modern concrete manufacturers can do as the Romans did. (more…)

Read More

Uranium-extracting technology for seawater earns student a Fuel Cycle Research Award

Scientists have long known that seawater contains small concentrations of valuable metals, but a technologically feasible extraction method has remained elusive. The University of Chicago’s Carter Abney, a graduate student in chemistry, has been developing materials called metal-organic frameworks to help address the problem. (more…)

Read More

Acidifying oceans could spell trouble for squid

New study reveals more acid seas could alter early development of Atlantic longfin squid

Acidifying oceans could dramatically impact the world’s squid species, according to a new study led by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) researchers and just published online in the journal PLOS ONE. Because squid are both ecologically and commercially important, that impact may have far-reaching effects on the ocean environment and coastal economies, the researchers report.

“Squid are at the center of the ocean ecosystem—nearly all animals are eating or eaten by squid,” says WHOI biologist T. Aran Mooney, a co-author of the study. “So if anything happens to these guys, it has repercussions down the food chain and up the food chain.” (more…)

Read More

Strange phallus-shaped creature provides crucial missing link

Christopher Cameron of the University of Montreal’s Department of Biological Sciences and his colleagues have unearthed a major scientific discovery – a strange phallus-shaped creature they found in Canada’s Burgess Shale fossil beds, located in Yoho National Park. The fossils were found in an area of shale beds that are 505 million years old.

Their study published online in the journal Nature on March 13, 2013, confirms Spartobranchus tenuis is a member of the acorn worms group which are seldom-seen animals that thrive today in the fine sands and mud of shallow and deeper waters. Acorn worms are themselves part of the hemichordates, a group of marine animals closely related to today’s sea stars and sea urchins. “Unlike animals with hard parts including teeth, scales and bones, these worms were soft-bodied, so their fossil record is extremely rare,” said author Dr. Chris Cameron of the University of Montreal. “Our description of Spartobranchus tenuis, a creature previously unknown to science, pushes the fossil record of the enteropneusts back 200 million years to the Cambrian period, fundamentally changing our understanding of biodiversity from this period.” (more…)

Read More

Massive Crevasses and Bendable Ice affect Stability of Antarctic Ice Shelf, CU-Boulder Research Team Finds

Gaping crevasses that penetrate upward from the bottom of the largest remaining ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula make it more susceptible to collapse, according to University of Colorado Boulder researchers who spent the last four Southern Hemisphere summers studying the massive floating sheet of ice that covers an area twice the size of Massachusetts.

But the scientists also found that ribbons running through the Larsen C Ice Shelf – made up of a mixture of ice types that, together, are more prone to bending than breaking – make the shelf more resilient than it otherwise would be. (more…)

Read More

NASA Radar Penetrates Thick, Thin of Gulf Oil Spill

PASADENA, Calif. – Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena have developed a method to use a specialized NASA 3-D imaging radar to characterize the oil in oil spills, such as the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The research can be used to improve response operations during future marine oil spills.

Caltech graduate student Brent Minchew and JPL researchers Cathleen Jones and Ben Holt analyzed NASA radar imagery collected over the main slick of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill on June 22 and June 23, 2010. The data were acquired by the JPL-developed Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) during the first of its three deployments over the spill area between June 2010 and July 2012. The UAVSAR was carried in a pod mounted beneath a NASA C-20A piloted aircraft, a version of the Gulfstream III business jet, based at NASA’s Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif. The researchers demonstrated, for the first time, that a radar system like UAVSAR can be used to characterize the oil within a slick, distinguishing very thin films like oil sheen from more damaging thick oil emulsions. (more…)

Read More

A ‘B-12 Shot’ for Marine Algae?

Scientists find key protein for algae growth in the ocean

Scientists have revealed a key cog in the biochemical machinery that allows marine algae at the base of the oceanic food chain to thrive. They have discovered a previously unknown protein in algae that grabs an essential but scarce nutrient out of seawater, vitamin B12.

Many algae, as well as land-dwelling animals, including humans, require B12, but they cannot make it and must either acquire it from the environment or eat food that contains B12. Only certain single-celled bacteria and archaea have the ability to synthesize B12, which is also known as cobalamin. (more…)

Read More

New Research Lowers Past Estimates of Sea-Level Rise

*Projections for the future still loom large*

The seas are creeping higher as the planet warms. But how high could they go?

Projections for the year 2100 range from inches to several feet, or even more.

The sub-tropical islands of Bermuda and the Bahamas are two seemingly unlikely places scientists have gone looking for answers. (more…)

Read More