's Archive

Cracked sea ice stirs up Arctic mercury concern

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Vigorous mixing in the air above large cracks in Arctic sea ice that expose seawater to cold polar air pumps atmospheric mercury down to the surface, finds a NASA field campaign. This process can lead to more of the toxic pollutant entering the food chain, where it can negatively affect the health of fish and animals who eat them, including humans....

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Geologic processes deep inside Earth: New light on genetic makeup of Earth’s deep microbial life and geochemistry of lavas

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Scientists are shedding light on the genetic makeup of Earth’s deep microbial life and the geochemistry of the lavas that form the Earth’s crust....

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Antarctic fjords are climate-sensitive hotspots of diversity in a rapidly warming region

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In the first significant study of seafloor communities in the glacier-dominated fjords along the west Antarctic Peninsula, scientists expected to find an impoverished seafloor highly disturbed by glacial sedimentation, similar to what has been documented in well-studied Arctic regions. Instead, they found high levels of diversity and abundance in megafauna. The difference can be explained by the fact that the subpolar Antarctic is in an earlier stage of climate warming than the Arctic....

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Tipping points: Where may abrupt impacts from climate change occur?

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A new report extends the idea of abrupt climate change, stating that even steady, gradual change in the physical climate system can have abrupt impacts elsewhere -- in human infrastructure and ecosystems for example -- if critical thresholds are crossed....

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Tracking marine food sources

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Scientists have developed a method to determine where animals obtain essential amino acids. They discovered that all life forms leave traces or ‘fingerprints’ in amino acids during biosynthesis. With these fingerprints, which are based on naturally occurring isotope variations, it is possible for the first time to distinguish between algal, bacterial, fungal and plant origins of amino acids through tissue samples. This discovery makes it possible to find out what animals have been feeding on without observing them directly or examining their stomach content....

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Plastic found to account for the majority of marine microlitter accumulating in the food chain

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Researchers have demonstrated that microplastics are transferred in the marine food web. The study also provided additional support to suspicions that many plankton organisms are unable to separate plastic particles from their natural food and that they therefore also ingest plastic....

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Arctic study shows key marine food web species at risk from increasing carbon dioxide

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A research expedition to the Arctic, as part of the Catlin Arctic Survey, has revealed that tiny crustaceans, known as copepods, that live just beneath the ocean surface are likely to battle for survival if ocean acidity continues to rise. The study found that copepods that move large distances, migrating vertically across a wide range of pH conditions, have a better chance of surviving....

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Microplastics make marine worms sick

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Tiny bits of plastic trash could spell big trouble for marine life, starting with the worms. Marine worms play a key ecological role as an important source of food for other animals....

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Corals surviving ocean’s pollution

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Unlike other marine species, the corals are still capable of adapting under current circumstances of sea acidification. “The first models indicated that the coral reefs would disappear midcentury, but our study reveals that corals are adapting to the ocean’s acidification that has increased since the industrial revolution”, the head researcher notes....

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Marine reserves enhance resilience to climate change

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A new study highlights the potential for fish communities in marine reserves to resist climate change impacts better than communities on fished coasts....

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