Warming trends: a deep blue sea cacophony, germs in the atmosphere and a podcast about “How high rates”


The sounds of the deep ocean

Under the surface of the ocean the water is not at all quiet.

The sounds of fish, whales and crustaceans are bright and informative – they tell something about each animal, such as where they are, what they do and how they talk.

Monitoring the sounds of marine life is one of the most complete and least invasive ways for scientists to study these creatures. A simple hydrophone on the seabed can pick up noise on a twilight night without the use of boats, lights and divers.

A team of researchers from around the world has set a goall create a library of these noises, called the Global Library of Underwater Biological Sounds. They are laid out his proposal in a new article published this month in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

This collection will allow scientists to explore how marine ecosystems are affected by climate change, extreme weather events or large infrastructure projects such as offshore wind farms. Many ecosystems that researchers will consider are threatened by climate change, said co-author Aran Mooney, a researcher at the Wood Hole Oceanographic Institute, and it is important to document them before they change completely.

“We need to know what a healthy environment is because we need to restore those habitats,” Mooney said. “And you can’t restore proper habitat without understanding what it looks like, what it smells like, how it sounds to animals.”

The library will also be a place where fellow scientists can send records of marine life they do while scuba diving or diving in the ocean, and if enough records are collected, the library can be used to train artificial intelligence to identify marine species by their sounds. as a bird can be recognized by her song.

“We think there are thousands of species that make sounds that aren’t in libraries yet, because this whole area is pretty new,” said Jesse Osubel, a Rockefeller University researcher who is also involved in the project. “Of course, you start with things like obvious teal whales or croaking fish. But there are many, many thousands of species that are not yet listed. So there is something to discover. “


1.5 degrees Celsius

Will humanity be able to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius?

This is the focus of the fourth season of the podcast Thresholdcalled Time to 1.5. Host and journalist Amy Martin tells the listener what it will take to achieve this goal outlined in the Paris Agreement to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Inside Climate News recently discussed the new season with Martin. This conversation has been slightly edited for length and clarity.

What will you explore in this new Threshold season?

This is mostly the time we have left before we exceed 1.5 degrees global warming compared to pre-industrial levels. It’s kind of a technical thing, every time I say that, I always say, “Oh, I feel like I’ve lost people halfway through that sentence.” But it is a kind of complexity of our time. It’s as if we all need to start thinking about the facts of this scientific information and what it actually means to us in our lives, and I think most people now know that climate change is real, that it’s a huge problem. But I don’t know how many people actually live with it daily and struggle with it really immediately, how high the stakes are.

Why is a threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius important?

There is a scientific and political answer. And I think sometimes I hear debates about 1.5, and it seems to me that sometimes these two sides of the story don’t talk to each other and don’t understand each other. Because on the part of science it’s not like flipping a switch. It’s a spinning dial. And so it’s not like we’ve reached 1.52 and everything just climbs to hell in a handmade basket. I think it’s a danger to focus on 1.5, it can confuse people about it and make them think that way.

From the political point of view, you need to choose a number somewhere. It is impossible to form a global regime to hold each other accountable for reducing emissions by simply saying, “Hold hands and try to burn less carbon.” They have to choose something, you have to choose a goal. And here science begins to collide a little with politics.

What is the role of storytelling in informing about climate change?

I really feel that the stories we tell, the narratives we shape, the mental paradigms we have as a society, are some of the most important things in this whole process. I don’t think history alone can solve the climate crisis. But I don’t think we can solve the climate crisis without good stories, without stories that make people feel part of the solution, without stories that help people understand what’s really at stake.


Two life forms that live in symbiotics as one

The organisms that form the peeling, green or blue bark on boulders and tree trunks are known as lichens, and they are actually two different life forms that live in symbiotics as one – algae that provides nutrients through photosynthesis. and the fungus that provides the greenhouse. shelter for algae to survive comfortably.

Lichens are an incredibly diverse group and can be found in almost every terrestrial environment. A new study Conducted by researchers from the Chicago Field Museum found that the most common species of algae found in lichens worldwide, Trebouxia, is not developing fast enough to keep up with the rapid pace of climate change.

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This means that this most common species of algae in lichens can be in too hot an environment, causing its habitat to change.

“It was definitely a moment of‘ Oh my God! ’And it surprised me,” said Matthew Nelsen, a scientist at the Field Museum, when he first realized what their research showed. “I feel very stupid because I had to know, especially from reading other articles, but for some reason I didn’t expect it to be so vivid.”

Lichens are important parts of the ecosystem. In dry conditions, they can help retain water. Some help recycle nutrients, sequester carbon and point to air quality. Others serve as a source of food for animals or even a tiny habitat for insects.

It is difficult to predict what will happen to lichens as the planet warms, Nelsen said, but even if climate change changes where certain algae may exist, some fungi may find other algae species to work with to form lichens, and others may. will need to shift the ranges along with the shift of the algae.

“Symbioses can be very vulnerable to environmental change,” Nelsen said. “The idea is that you have two different organisms involved, each with its own unique niches, they may not be fully in sync with each other. And the impact on one of these symbiotes could have a cascading effect. “


Life forms in the atmosphere

Ecological communities floating in the atmosphere are much less studied than marine and terrestrial ecosystems. These communities of fungi and bacteria that have risen into the air by gusts of wind are so small that they are not subject to the laws of gravity. They float in the sky until they are knocked to the ground by a raindrop or attached to a sedimentary piece of dust.

But new techniques used in a recent study of fungi and bacteria living up to two miles in the sky have found that temperature is a factor of № 1 that determines the composition of microbes in the atmosphere. As global warming causes changes in temperature, the species composition and distribution of microbes in the air will also change, the study authors believe.

The study of life forms in the atmosphere has evolved over the last century from collecting samples on sticky surfaces on the sides of early 20th century aircraft to sophisticated air samplers that perform simultaneous measurements at different altitudes.

“This is a high-precision ultra-high-resolution biological sensor that first allows you to read the biological output when it varies with temperature,” said lead author Stefan Schuster of Nanyang University of Technology in Singapore.

Schuster and other researchers from the Singapore Center for Environmental Engineering have found that higher temperatures could allow germs to spread more widely, possibly around the world, increasing the spread of pathogens that could be potentially harmful to human health and agriculture as the planet warms. . Them conclusions were published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

However, much is still unknown about the effects of global warming on these communities, Schuster said.

“It’s not like instilling fear,” he said. “We say we now understand the mechanisms of how this can work.” Warming trends: a deep blue sea cacophony, germs in the atmosphere and a podcast about “How high rates”

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