Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > CO2 makes life difficult for algae

Abstract:
The acidification of the world's oceans could have major consequences for the marine environment. New research shows that coccoliths, which are an important part of the marine environment, dissolve when seawater acidifies. Associate Professor Tue Hassenkam and colleagues at the Nano-Science Center, University of Copenhagen, are the first to have measured how individual coccoliths react to water with different degrees of acidity.

CO2 makes life difficult for algae

Copenhagen, Denmark | Posted on May 12th, 2011

Coccoliths are very small shells of calcium carbonate that encapsulate a number of species of alga. Algae plays an important role in the global carbon-oxygen cycle and thus in our ecosystem. Our seawater has changed because of our emissions of greenhouse gases and therefore it was interesting for Hassenkam and his colleagues to investigate how the coccoliths react to different types of water.

"We know that the world's oceans are acidifying due to our emissions of CO2 and that is why it is interesting for us to find out how the coccoliths are reacting to it. We have studied algae from both fossils and living coccoliths, and it appears that both are protected from dissolution by a very thin layer of organic material that the algae formed, even though the seawater is extremely unsaturated relative to calcite. The protection of the organic material is lost when the pH is lowered slightly. In fact, it turns out that the shell falls completely apart when we do experiments in water with a pH value that many researchers believe will be the found in the world oceans in the year 2100 due to the CO2 levels," explains Tue Hassenkam, who is part of the NanoGeoScience research group at the Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen.

Professor of Biological Oceanography Katherine Richardson has followed research in the acidification of the oceans and climate change in general and she hopes that the results can help to bring the issue into public focus.

"These findings underscore that the acidification of the oceans is a serious problem. The acidification has enormous consequences not only for coccoliths, but also for many other marine organisms as well as the global carbon cycle," explains Katherine Richardson, professor of biological oceanography and vice dean at the Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen.

Nano-microscope is the key
Tue Hassenkam is a nano-specialist and has been working for several years with the AFM (Atomic Force Microscope), which is an important instrument for nano researchers, because they can see and manipulate very small samples of, for example, geological materials like coccoliths.

"Using the AFM I weighed the coccoliths before and after they have been immersed in water with different compositions. The coccoliths weigh around 500 pg (0.0000000005 g). Specifically, I have set a coccolith on tip of an AFM and immersed the tip in water and looked at and weighed the coccolith afterwards. In that way I can say something about how much and how long it takes for a coccolith to dissolve in water with different degrees of acidity. I can use these results to say something about how important the water acidity is for the marine environment," explains Tue Hassenkam, who has just had his results published in the journal PNAS.

Measurements of such small materials are unique and very precise and there is therefore great potential in using the technique on other materials. For example, Tue Hassenkam has recently measured the dissolution of salt in ash from the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull which erupted last year.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Associate Professor Tue Hassenkam
Nano-Science Center
Phone: +45 26 55 20 30
Email:

Head of Administration & PR Rikke Bøyesen
Nano-Science Center
Phone: +45 28 75 04 13
Email:

Copyright © University of Copenhagen

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

Imaging

Creation of coherent states in molecules by incoherent electrons October 21st, 2017

News and information

Creation of coherent states in molecules by incoherent electrons October 21st, 2017

Novel 'converter' heralds breakthrough in ultra-fast data processing at nanoscale: Invention bagged four patents and could potentially make microprocessor chips work 1,000 times faster October 20th, 2017

Strange but true: turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer October 20th, 2017

Leti Coordinating Project to Develop Innovative Drivetrains for 3rd-generation Electric Vehicles: CEA Tech’s Contribution Includes Liten’s Knowhow in Magnetic Materials and Simulation And Leti’s Expertise in Wide-bandgap Semiconductors October 20th, 2017

Discoveries

Creation of coherent states in molecules by incoherent electrons October 21st, 2017

Novel 'converter' heralds breakthrough in ultra-fast data processing at nanoscale: Invention bagged four patents and could potentially make microprocessor chips work 1,000 times faster October 20th, 2017

Strange but true: turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer October 20th, 2017

MIPT scientists revisit optical constants of ultrathin gold films October 20th, 2017

Announcements

Creation of coherent states in molecules by incoherent electrons October 21st, 2017

Novel 'converter' heralds breakthrough in ultra-fast data processing at nanoscale: Invention bagged four patents and could potentially make microprocessor chips work 1,000 times faster October 20th, 2017

Strange but true: turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer October 20th, 2017

Leti Coordinating Project to Develop Innovative Drivetrains for 3rd-generation Electric Vehicles: CEA Tech’s Contribution Includes Liten’s Knowhow in Magnetic Materials and Simulation And Leti’s Expertise in Wide-bandgap Semiconductors October 20th, 2017

Tools

Creation of coherent states in molecules by incoherent electrons October 21st, 2017

Bringing the atomic world into full color: Researchers turn atomic force microscope measurements into color images October 19th, 2017

Nanometrics Announces Preliminary Results for the Third Quarter of 2017: Quarterly Results Impacted by Delays in Revenue Recognition on Multiple Systems into Japan October 12th, 2017

Seeing the next dimension of computer chips: Researchers image perfectly smooth side-surfaces of 3-D silicon crystals with a scanning tunneling microscope, paving the way for smaller and faster computing devices October 11th, 2017

Environment

Single ‘solitons’ promising for optical technologies October 9th, 2017

Solar-to-fuel system recycles CO2 to make ethanol and ethylene: Berkeley Lab advance is first demonstration of efficient, light-powered production of fuel via artificial photosynthesis September 19th, 2017

High-tech electronics made from autumn leaves: New process converts biomass waste into useful electronic devices August 30th, 2017

Nanoparticles pollution rises 30 percent when flex-fuel cars switch from bio to fossil: Study carried out in São Paulo, home to the world's largest flex fuel urban fleet, shows increase of ultrafine particulate matter when ethanol prices rose and consumption fell August 28th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project