Menopausal Mother Nature

News about Climate Change and our Planet

Universities

Geochemists measure new composition of Earth’s mantle

Geochemists have investigated the volcanic rocks that build up the Portuguese island group of the Azores in order to gather new information about the compositional evolution of the Earth’s interior. The results suggest that a larger amount of the Earth’s mantle has melted and formed the Earth’s crust than previously thought.

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Welcome indoors, solar cells

Scientists have developed organic solar cells optimized to convert ambient indoor light to electricity. The power they produce is low, but is probably enough to feed the millions of products that the internet of things will bring online.

The sleep neuron in threadworms is also a stop neuron

(Goethe University Frankfurt) The nervous system of the threadworm C. elegans is simple at first sight: it consists of 302 neurons, some of which, however, have several functions. The neuron ‘RIS,’ known as a sleep neuron, can therefore put the worm into a long sleep — or also just briefly stop its locomotion, as a group of scientists led by Goethe University have now discovered.

Climate change expected to accelerate spread of sometimes-fatal fungal infection

(American Geophysical Union) Valley fever is endemic to hot and dry regions like the southwestern United States and California’s San Joaquin Valley, but a new study predicts climate change will cause the fungal infection’s range to more than double in size this century, reaching previously unaffected areas across the western U.S.

Multidrug resistance: Not as recent as we thought

(Osaka University) Researchers from Osaka University found that the ancient RND-type multidrug efflux pump AcrB from Haemophilus influenzae targets the same drugs as its more evolved counterpart from Escherichia coli, showing that multidrug resistance is an ancient trait. The more ancient protein is unaffected by efflux pump inhibitors, which were designed to target the evolved pumps. Understanding these evolutionary differences will help researchers develop targeted therapies against multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens.

Terahertz waves reveal hidden processes in ultrafast artificial photosynthesis

(Osaka University) Osaka University researchers have succeeded in observing charge transfer and intermolecular interactions in ultrafast artificial photosynthesis. With time-resolved attenuated total reflection (TR-ATR) terahertz spectroscopy, they revealed the process of artificial photosynthesis material [Re(CO)2(bpy){P(OEt)3}2](PF6) in Triethanolamine solvent as a reductant. This finding will help to develop highly efficient photocatalytic reactions, and TR-ATR terahertz spectroscopy will assist research on biological and chemical reaction processes.

Finding (microbial) pillars of the bioenergy community

(Michigan State University) In a new study in Nature Communications, Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center scientists at Michigan State University have focused on understanding more about the plant regions above the soil where these microbes can live, called the ‘phyllosphere.’ Ashley Shade, MSU assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, and her lab classified core members of this community in switchgrass and miscanthus.

Climate change in the Southern Hemisphere

(Goethe University Frankfurt) On its mission ‘SouthTRAC’, the German research aircraft HALO will investigate the southern atmosphere and its effects on climate change in September and November 2019. Researchers from Goethe University will also be on board.

Climate change: A dirt-y business

(University of California – Riverside) Groundwater is essential for growing crops, but new research shows climate change is making it harder for soil to absorb water from rainfall. While the idea that soil particles rearrange in response to environmental conditions is not new, scientists once thought these shifts happened slowly. Not anymore. New research shows increased rainfall reduces the rate water moves into soil, and that this change only takes a few years or decades, not centuries as previously assumed.