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Latest Decomposition Stories

Decomposing Logs Show Local Factors Play A Greater Role Than Climate
2014-06-03 15:34:25

By Kevin Dennehy, Yale University A new Yale-led study challenges the long-held assumption that climate is the primary driver of how quickly organic matter decomposes in different regions, a key piece of information used in formulating climate models. In a long-term analysis conducted across several sites in the eastern United States, a team of researchers found that local factors — from levels of fungal colonization to the specific physical locations of the wood — play a far...

Lignin-Feasting Microbe Could Be Used For Biofuels
2013-11-13 16:08:10

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Nature designed lignin, the tough woody polymer in the walls of plant cells, to bind and protect the cellulose sugars that plants use for energy. For this reason, lignin is a major challenge for those who would extract those same plant sugars and use them to make advanced biofuels. As part of their search for economic ways to overcome the lignin challenge, researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have characterized the enzymatic activity of...

How Plants In Arid Lands Gain Nutrients To Survive
2013-11-06 11:48:07

Marine Biological Laboratory The vast sagebrush landscapes of the western United States are one of the largest ecosystems in North America.  Long, cold winters and hot, dry summers characterize these cold desert ecosystems and create bone-dry soils during seasonal droughts. New research published this week from MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) senior scientist Zoe Cardon, John Stark (Utah State University), and their two former students, sheds light on how desert plants gain nutrients...

Forensics May Rely On 'Microbial Clock' To Establish Time Of Death
2013-09-25 07:56:45

[ Watch the Video: Time Of Death Determined By Microbial Clock ] April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Forensic scientists already have an extensive toolbox of techniques for determining the time of death in cases involving human corpses, but an intriguing new study led by the University of Colorado may just give them a new one. The findings, published in the new online science and biomedical journal eLIFE, describe a microbial clock that is essentially the lock-step...

Fungal Diversity Reduced By Traditional Forest Management
2013-07-26 13:21:05

Elhuyar Fundazioa In the beech groves of Navarre a team from the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country has analyzed the influence exerted by forestry management on the fungi populations that decompose wood There is a shortage of dead wood in forests because fallen branches and trees tend to be cleared away. This wood, if available, ought to be decomposing, as it is the habitat of many living beings like lignicolous fungi. These fungi are capable of decomposing dead wood and turning...

Mathematics Of Decomposition And Carbon Dioxide
2012-10-04 07:48:18

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online The fall leaves look like confetti piling up in your back yard with brilliant reds, golds, and oranges. They can be thought of as natural stores of carbon, as well as a beautiful nuisance that you have to rake up each Autumn. Leaves soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the spring, converting the gas into organic carbon compounds. In the fall, the leaves fall from the trees and decompose in the soil as they are eaten by...

The Productivity Of Our Soil Affected From Grasshoppers 'Stressed' By Spiders
2012-06-14 15:58:15

How do grasshoppers who are being frightened by spiders affect our ecosystem? In no small measure, say researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at Yale University in the US. A grasshopper that is in fear of an attacker, such as a spider, will enter a situation of stress and will consume a greater quantity of carbohydrate-rich plants — similar to humans under stress who might eat more sweets. This type of reaction will, in turn, cause chemical changes in the...

2012-03-29 10:20:15

The pregnant ichthyosaur female from Holzmaden (Germany) that perished 182 million years ago puzzled researchers for quite some time: The skeleton of the extinct marine reptile is almost immaculately preserved and the fossilized bones of the mother animal lie largely in their anatomical position. The bones of the ichthyosaur embryos, however, are a different story: For the most part, they lie scattered outside the body of the mother. Such peculiar bone arrangements are repeatedly found in...

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2009-08-17 09:45:00

In an advance toward the first portable device for detecting human bodies buried in disasters and at crime scenes, scientists today report early results from a project to establish the chemical fingerprint of death. Speaking here at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), they said a profile of the chemicals released from decomposing bodies could also lead to a valuable new addition to the forensic toolkit: An electronic device that could determine the time elapsed...

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2008-10-30 10:08:32

Current models of global climate change predict warmer temperatures will increase the rate that bacteria and other microbes decompose soil organic matter, a scenario that pumps even more heat-trapping carbon into the atmosphere. But a new study led by a University of Georgia researcher shows that while the rate of decomposition increases for a brief period in response to warmer temperatures, elevated levels of decomposition don't persist. "There is about two and a half times more carbon in...


Word of the Day
cruet
  • A vial or small glass bottle, especially one for holding vinegar, oil, etc.; a caster for liquids.
This word is Middle English in origin, and ultimately comes from the Old French, diminutive of 'crue,' flask.
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