Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

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

News and information

Nanoribbon film keeps glass ice-free: Rice University lab refines deicing film that allows radio frequencies to pass September 16th, 2014

Effective Nanotechnology Innovations to Receive Mustafa Prize September 16th, 2014

‘Small’ transformation yields big changes September 16th, 2014

Elusive Quantum Transformations Found Near Absolute Zero: Brookhaven Lab and Stony Brook University researchers measured the quantum fluctuations behind a novel magnetic material's ultra-cold ferromagnetic phase transition September 15th, 2014

Imaging

Advanced Light Source Sets Microscopy Record| Berkeley Lab Researchers Achieve Highest Resolution Ever with X-ray Microscopy September 11th, 2014

Researchers Create World’s Largest DNA Origami September 11th, 2014

Development of Algorithm for Accurate Calculation of Average Distance Travelled by Low-Speed Electrons without Energy Loss that Are Sensitive to Surface Structure September 11th, 2014

How skin falls apart: The pathology of autoimmune skin disease is revealed at the nanoscale September 10th, 2014

Discoveries

Nanoribbon film keeps glass ice-free: Rice University lab refines deicing film that allows radio frequencies to pass September 16th, 2014

‘Small’ transformation yields big changes September 16th, 2014

Rice rolls 'neat' nanotube fibers: Rice University researchers' acid-free approach leads to strong conductive carbon threads September 15th, 2014

Simple, Cost-Effective Method Proposed for Synthesizing Zinc Oxide Nanopigments September 15th, 2014

Announcements

Nanoribbon film keeps glass ice-free: Rice University lab refines deicing film that allows radio frequencies to pass September 16th, 2014

Effective Nanotechnology Innovations to Receive Mustafa Prize September 16th, 2014

‘Small’ transformation yields big changes September 16th, 2014

Simple, Cost-Effective Method Proposed for Synthesizing Zinc Oxide Nanopigments September 15th, 2014

Tools

Advanced Light Source Sets Microscopy Record| Berkeley Lab Researchers Achieve Highest Resolution Ever with X-ray Microscopy September 11th, 2014

Researchers Create World’s Largest DNA Origami September 11th, 2014

Development of Algorithm for Accurate Calculation of Average Distance Travelled by Low-Speed Electrons without Energy Loss that Are Sensitive to Surface Structure September 11th, 2014

How skin falls apart: The pathology of autoimmune skin disease is revealed at the nanoscale September 10th, 2014

Environment

Iranian Nano Scientists Create Flame-Resistant Polymers September 13th, 2014

NanoStruck has a High Recovery Rate on Mine Tailings: retrieval of up to 96% of Gold, 88% of Silver and 86% of Palladium September 12th, 2014

Nanostruck announces 87.6% recovery of 56 GMS/ton silver tailings samples September 12th, 2014

Boosting armor for nuclear-waste eating microbes September 12th, 2014

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







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE