Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Earth Science News .




FLORA AND FAUNA
Dust-plumes power intercontinental microbial migrations
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Dec 19, 2012


Two major pollution events emanating from Asia during the sampling season of 2011 helped the team distinguish Asian expatriate microbes from locals, along with chemical and meteorological methods.

Along with pollutants from Asia, transpacific dust plumes deliver vast quantities of microbes to North America, according to a manuscript published online ahead of print in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. "We detected thousands of unique microbial species, many of which seem particularly well-suited for atmospheric transport," says first author David J. Smith, a graduate student at the University of Washington, Seattle.

"We also detected archaea, a domain of life that has never before been sampled at high altitude. We are just starting to understand the consequences of long-range microbial transport."

"Over 70 million tons of Asian aerosols-mostly dust-reach our continent every year," says Smith. "There could be thousands of microbes per gram of dust. Do the math. The number is staggering. Distant continents are essentially sneezing on each other."

Although the research is basic, Smith foresees value in understanding how bacteria survive at high altitudes during intercontinental journeys.

For example, identifying the mechanisms for resisting ultraviolet radiation at altitude, which likely involve protecting and repairing DNA, could prove invaluable to biotechnology and medicine, says Smith.

"It is difficult to predict specific breakthroughs and applications, but studying microbes in extreme environments has had practical benefit before," he says, mentioning discovery of a thermostable enzyme from microbes in the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park, which proved invaluable to Polymerase Chain Reaction.

Additionally, developing predictive models of disease dispersal via the tradewinds "could be of tremendous value to farmers," says Smith.

The research took place at an observatory perched on the summit of a volcano in the Pacific Northwest, says Smith. "We could process huge volumes of air, 24/7, and capture enough biomass to analyze airborne microorganisms using molecular methods."

Two major pollution events emanating from Asia during the sampling season of 2011 helped the team distinguish Asian expatriate microbes from locals, along with chemical and meteorological methods, says Smith.

The research was physically challenging. "Mt. Bachelor is a very snowy place and one of the windiest mountains in North America," says Smith.

"Some summit days were an endurance marathon. Wearing latex gloves when it's 20 degrees below zero is not fun. But it was a worthwhile sacrifice for science, and I would happily do it again."

Conducting the research also changed how Smith views the sky. "Now when I look at the clouds, I see microbial sanctuaries," he says.

A PDF of the manuscript can be found online here. Formal publication is scheduled for the February 2013 issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology. (D.J. Smith, H.J. Timonen, D.A. Jaffe, D.W. Griffin, M.N. Birmele, K.D. Perry, P.D. Ward, M.S. Robert, 2012. Intercontinental dispersal of bacteria and archaea in transpacific winds. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (E-pub ahead of print 7 Dec. 2012).

.


Related Links
American Society for Microbiology
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





FLORA AND FAUNA
Disaster map predicts bleak future for mammals
London UK (SPX) Dec 18, 2012
Mammals could be at a greater risk of extinction due to predicted increases in extreme weather conditions, states a paper published by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). Scientists have mapped out land mammal populations, and overlapped this with information of where droughts and cyclones are most likely to occur. This allowed them to identify species at high risk of exposure to extreme wea ... read more


FLORA AND FAUNA
China arrests nearly 1,000 doomsday 'cult' members

Zuckerberg donates $500 mn to charity

China opens disaster research laboratory

Doomsday cult arrests surpass 400 in China

FLORA AND FAUNA
Apple "pinch-to-zoom" patent deemed invalid

Google sells Motorola Mobility Home for $2.35 bn

Bubble study could improve industrial splash control

Missile Defense Agency awards Raytheon contract modification for AN/TPY-2 radar

FLORA AND FAUNA
EU to fund Djibouti desalination plant

Mapping effort charts restoration tack for Great Lakes

Investigating ocean currents using uranium-236 from the 1960s

Disputed fish quota cuts lead to tough EU talks

FLORA AND FAUNA
'Missing' polar weather systems could impact climate predictions

Top Officials Meet at ONR as Arctic Changes Quicken

Invasive species said threat to Antarctica

Australia plans drill of ancient Antarctic ice core

FLORA AND FAUNA
Three Bacterial Strains Common to Grapevines and Sugarcane Decoded

Soil determines fate of phosphorous

Building better barley

Argentine corn exports blocked by China

FLORA AND FAUNA
Storms in the Machine

Russian volcano eruption ongoing

Flash floods kill 25 in Sri Lanka: disaster agency

Ecuador volcano spews lava, ash

FLORA AND FAUNA
Kenyans brace for another violent election

French push Algeria to join Mali incursion

Troops patrol Nigeria city after death of governor

DR Congo leader says defence top priority after rebel takeover

FLORA AND FAUNA
US shooting revives debate over videogame violence

Study: Early humans had a taste for grass

Tracing humanity's African ancestry may mean rewriting 'out of Africa' dates

Technology has spawned 'new brain'




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement