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Fri04282017

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Climate Change

Newly discovered algal species helps corals survive in the hottest reefs on the planet

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altA new species of algae has been discovered in reef corals of the Persian (Arabian) Gulf where it helps corals to survive seawater temperatures of up to 36 degrees Celsius - temperatures that would kill corals elsewhere.

Researchers from the University of Southampton and the New York University Abu Dhabi identified the symbiotic algae in corals from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, the world’s warmest coral reef habitat.

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Monitoring greenhouse gases from biofuel crops

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Global issues such as climate change and energy security have driven rapid growth in renewable energy production - wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, hydro, biofuels etc. However, logically, each of these methods should deliver a net benefit in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction, so researchers in the United States have employed portable FTIR analysers to study the GHG emissions of biomass production processes. “It would be futile to manufacture biofuels in an attempt to mitigate climate change if the production process created more GHGs than were saved by using biofuels instead of fossil fuels,” says Dr.Joe Storlien from the Texas A&M University Department of Soil & Crop Sciences.

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Ancient marine algae provides clues of climate change impact on today’s microscopic ocean organisms

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A study of ancient marine algae, led by the University of Southampton, has found that climate change affected their growth and skeleton structure, which has potential significance for today’s equivalent microscopic organisms that play an important role in the world’s oceans.

Coccolithophores, a type of marine algae, are prolific in the ocean today and have been for millions of years. These single-celled plankton produce calcite skeletons that are preserved in seafloor sediments after death. Although coccolithophores are microscopic, their abundance makes them key contributors to marine ecosystems and the global carbon cycle.

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The ‘microbial garden’ taking the shine off glaciers

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The first study of the ecological diversity of an entire glacier has found that microbes can drastically reduce the reflectivity of the surface and have a non-negligible impact on the amount of sunlight that is reflected back into space.

The research, led by the University of Leeds and published today [12 June] in the journal FEMS Microbiology Ecology, will help improve climate change models that have previously neglected the role of microbes in darkening the Earth’s surface.

Observing how life thrives at extreme cold temperatures also has important implications for the search for life on distant worlds, such as Jupiter's icy moon Europa.

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Climate meeting generates optimism for a final agreement

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Picture of sunrise over Bonn for Your Expert Witness storyJune saw two weeks of meeting in Bonn to pave the way for a final international agreement on climate change in Paris next year. Despite early disappointment at the small number of environment ministers attending – despite an undertaking given in Warsaw last year for ministers to attend – the communique issued on 15 June was upbeat.

It stated: “The positivity around the past two week’s meetings culminated at the close when governments asked that the elements of a draft treaty be made available by July in advance of the next meetings in Bonn in October.”

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