Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Study of Oceans’ Past Raises Worries About Their Future

18.06.2013
Data from end of the last ice age illuminate the precarious nature of global ocean chemistry

The ocean the Titanic sailed through just over 100 years ago was very different from the one we swim in today. Global warming is increasing ocean temperatures and harming marine food webs. Nitrogen run-off from fertilizers is causing coastal dead zones.

A McGill-led international research team has now completed the first global study of changes that occurred in a crucial component of ocean chemistry, the nitrogen cycle, at the end of the last ice age. The results of their study confirm that oceans are good at balancing the nitrogen cycle on a global scale. But the data also shows that it is a slow process that may take many centuries, or even millennia, raising worries about the effects of the scale and speed of current changes in the ocean.

“For the first time we can quantify how oceans responded to slow, natural climate warming as the world emerged from the last ice age,” says Prof. Eric Galbraith from McGill University’s Department of Earth and Oceanic Sciences, who led the study. ”And what is clear is that there is a strong climate sensitivity in the ocean nitrogen cycle.”

The nitrogen cycle is a key component of the global ocean metabolism. Like the proteins that are essential to human health, nitrogen is crucial to the health of oceans. And just as proteins are carried by the blood and circulate through the body, the nitrogen in the ocean is kept in balance by marine bacteria through a complicated cycle that keeps the ocean healthy. The phytoplankton (microscopic organisms at the base of the food chain) ‘fix’ nitrogen in the shallow, sunlit waters of the ocean, and then as they die and sink, nitrogen is eliminated (a process known as ‘denitrification’) in dark, oxygen-poor pockets of the ocean depths.

Using sediment gathered from the ocean floor in different areas of the world, the researchers were able to confirm that as the ice sheets started melting and the climate warmed up at the end of the last ice age, 18,000 years ago, the marine nitrogen cycle started to accelerate. The ocean had stabilized itself in its new, warmer state, in which the overall nitrogen cycle was running faster, by about 8,000 years ago. Given the current dramatic rate of change in the ocean nitrogen cycle the researchers are not sure how long it will take for marine ecosystems to adapt.

“We are changing the planet in ways we are not even aware of,” says Galbraith. “You wouldn’t think that putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere would change the amount of nitrogen available to fish in the ocean, but it clearly does. It is important to realize just how interconnected everything is.”

To read the full study in Nature Geoscience: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo1832.html

This research was funded by: the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) through the Earth System Evolution Program

katherine gombay | Newswise
Further information:
http://www.mcgill.ca

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Surface clean-up technology won't solve ocean plastic problem
04.08.2020 | University of Exeter

nachricht Improving the monitoring of ship emissions
03.08.2020 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Projektabschluss ScanCut: Filigranere Steckverbinder dank Laserschneiden

Eine entscheidende Ergänzung zum Stanzen von Kontakten erarbeiteten Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler des Fraunhofer-Instituts für Lasertechnik ILT. Die Aachener haben im Rahmen des EFRE-Forschungsprojekts ScanCut zusammen mit Industriepartnern aus Nordrhein-Westfalen ein hybrides Fertigungsverfahren zum Laserschneiden von dünnwandigen Metallbändern entwickelt, wodurch auch winzige Details von Kontaktteilen umweltfreundlich, hochpräzise und effizient gefertigt werden können.

Sie sind unscheinbar und winzig, trotzdem steht und fällt der Einsatz eines modernen Fahrzeugs mit ihnen: Die Rede ist von mehreren Tausend Steckverbindern im...

Im Focus: ScanCut project completed: laser cutting enables more intricate plug connector designs

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have come up with a striking new addition to contact stamping technologies in the ERDF research project ScanCut. In collaboration with industry partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, the Aachen-based team of researchers developed a hybrid manufacturing process for the laser cutting of thin-walled metal strips. This new process makes it possible to fabricate even the tiniest details of contact parts in an eco-friendly, high-precision and efficient manner.

Plug connectors are tiny and, at first glance, unremarkable – yet modern vehicles would be unable to function without them. Several thousand plug connectors...

Im Focus: Elektrogesponnene Vliese mit gerichteten Fasern für die Sehnen- und Bänderrekostruktion

Sportunfälle und der demografische Wandel sorgen für eine gesteigerte Nachfrage an neuen Möglichkeiten zur Regeneration von Bändern und Sehnen. Eine Kooperation aus italienischen und deutschen Wissenschaftler*innen forschen gemeinsam an neuen Materialien, um dieser Nachfrage gerecht zu werden.

Dem Team ist es gelungen elektrogesponnene Vliese mit hochgerichteten Fasern zu generieren, die eine geeignete Basis für Ersatzmaterialien für Sehnen und...

Im Focus: New Strategy Against Osteoporosis

An international research team has found a new approach that may be able to reduce bone loss in osteoporosis and maintain bone health.

Osteoporosis is the most common age-related bone disease which affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that one in three women...

Im Focus: Neue Strategie gegen Osteoporose

Ein internationales Forschungsteam hat einen neuen Ansatzpunkt gefunden, über den man möglicherweise den Knochenabbau bei Osteoporose verringern und die Knochengesundheit erhalten kann.

Die Osteoporose ist die häufigste altersbedingte Knochenkrankheit. Weltweit sind hunderte Millionen Menschen davon betroffen. Es wird geschätzt, dass eine von...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industrie & Wirtschaft
Veranstaltungen

Innovationstage 2020 – digital

06.08.2020 | Veranstaltungen

Innovationen der Luftfracht: 5. Air Cargo Conference real und digital

04.08.2020 | Veranstaltungen

T-Shirts aus Holz, Möbel aus Popcorn – wie nachwachsende Rohstoffe fossile Ressourcen ersetzen können

30.07.2020 | Veranstaltungen

VideoLinks
Wissenschaft & Forschung
Weitere VideoLinks im Überblick >>>
 
Aktuelle Beiträge

Der Türsteher im Gehirn

06.08.2020 | Biowissenschaften Chemie

Kognitive Energiesysteme: Neues Kompetenzzentrum sucht Partner aus Wissenschaft und Wirtschaft

06.08.2020 | Energie und Elektrotechnik

Projektabschluss ScanCut: Filigranere Steckverbinder dank Laserschneiden

06.08.2020 | Verfahrenstechnologie

Weitere B2B-VideoLinks
IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics