Monthly Archives: October 2012

Halloween special – the secret of the moaning sands revealed.

Well it has nothing to do with the oceans or plants but today’s article from Jane Lee (Science magazine) highlighted new research we find fascinating.  She writes: “When plagued by whipping desert winds, sand dunes signal their displeasure with haunting moans that reverberate across the arid landscape. Some emit single-note songs while others mimic a jumbled chorus—but no one knew why they sang these different songs until now. New research published online this week in Geophysical Research Letters finds that the size of sand grains Continue reading →

Carbon dioxide makes us (and fish) dumb

Here’s an interesting recent study showing the hidden impact of high carbon dioxide levels, this time in office buildings and schools, on cognitive function.    Elevated carbon dioxide may impair reasoning: Insufficient ventilation allows exhaled gas to build up indoors, diminishing decision-making abilities.  According the Janet Raloff at ScienceNews: “The work assessed decision-making in 22 healthy young adults. Their performance on six of nine tests dropped notably when researchers raised indoor carbon dioxide levels to 1,000 parts per million from a baseline of 600 ppm. Continue reading →

Wish we were (still) there: Carlos Duarte talks about seagrasses and climate change at UQ

On the second anniversary of UQ’s Centre for Marine Science Professor Carlos Duarte is giving a special seminar on the role seagrass meadows  in mitigating the effects of climate change.  Having just returned from Brisbane, our research group will miss the opportunity to hear this wonderful seminar.  But it’s worth adding our voices to Prof. Duarte’s when he reminds us that “seagrass meadows are important ecosystems in the coastal ocean, but….are in global decline….they perform important functions, which are relevant to mitigate climate change and adapt locally to climate change.” That’s Continue reading →

Survey says: climate change favors soft-bodied seaweeds

A high CO2 world is likely to favor some marine macroalgae over others.  Marguerite Koch and coworkers recently published a meta-analysis, Climate change and ocean acidification effects on seagrasses and marine macroalgae (Global Change Biology 24 SEP 2012), which examines previous research on over 100 species of marine algae and their responses to high CO2 / low pH conditions.  They concluded that  calcareous macroalgae, like many corals and shellfish, are highly vulnerable to future ocean acidification and predict that fleshy macroalgae will take advantage of increased carbon assimilation rates Continue reading →