Danforth Center and Salk plant researchers launch collaboration to breed carbon-capturing sorghum

Researchers at the Salk Institute’s Harnessing Plants Initiative have established a five-year, $6.2 million collaboration with Dr. Nadia Shakoor and her team at the Danforth Center to identify and develop sorghum plants that can better capture and store atmospheric carbon.

California’s carbon mitigation efforts may be thwarted by climate change itself

Irvine, Calif., July 22, 2021 – To meet an ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2045, California’s policymakers are relying in part on forests and shrublands to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, but researchers at the University of California, Irvine warn that future climate change may limit the ecosystem’s ability to perform this service.

Researchers reveal complex ecosystem changes cause more greenhouse gases to be emitted from peatlands

Peatlands, which make up 3 percent of Earth’s total land area, are known by a number of names — moors, mires, bogs, swamps and portions of permafrost tundra. They also store a significant amount of the Earth’s carbon. A research team from Florida State University and Georgia Institute of Technology are paying close attention to these complicated systems because they’ve found that the warming Earth is stimulating complex ecosystem changes with the end result of even more greenhouse gases being released into the air.

Key to Carbon-Free Cars? Look to the Stars

In a decade-long quest, scientists at Berkeley Lab, the University of Hawaii, and Florida International University uncover new clues to the origins of the universe – and land new chemistry for cleaner combustion engines

Rutgers Experts Available to Discuss New U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Target

New Brunswick, N.J. (April 22, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick professors Robert E. Kopp and Pamela McElwee are available for interviews on President Biden’s new plan, unveiled on Earth Day, for the United States to roughly halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. “Stabilizing the global…

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Viral ‘Pandemics’ in Oceans

New Brunswick, N.J. (April 6, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick microbial oceanographer Kay D. Bidle is available for interviews on the persistent and profound impact of viral infections on algae in the oceans. These infections influence the Earth’s carbon cycle, which helps…

Science Snapshots From Berkeley Lab – Week of March 29, 2021

India’s Ambitious Clean Energy Goals, a Secret Pathway to Harnessing the Sun for Clean Energy, and a Supersmart Gas Sensor for Asthmatics

“Ghost Forests” Expanding Along Northeast U.S. Coast

Why are “ghost forests” filled with dead trees expanding along the mid-Atlantic and southern New England coast? Higher groundwater levels linked to sea-level rise and increased flooding from storm surges and very high tides are likely the most important factors, according to a Rutgers study on the impacts of climate change that suggests how to enhance land-use planning.

Fishes Contribute Roughly 1.65 Billion Tons of Carbon in Feces and Other Matter Annually

Scientists have little understanding of the role fishes play in the global carbon cycle linked to climate change, but a Rutgers-led study found that carbon in feces, respiration and other excretions from fishes – roughly 1.65 billion tons annually – make up about 16 percent of the total carbon that sinks below the ocean’s upper layers.

Up-trending farming and landscape disruptions threaten Paris climate agreement goals

Irvine, Calif., Jan. 27, 2021 — One of President Joe Biden’s first post-inauguration acts was to realign the United States with the Paris climate accord, but a new study led by researchers at the University of California, Irvine demonstrates that rising emissions from human land-use will jeopardize the agreement’s goals without substantial changes in agricultural practices.

Experiments at the National Ignition Facility probe carbon at record pressures

Decades of studies have shown that carbon’s crystal structure has a significant impact on material properties. In addition to graphite and diamond, the most common carbon structures found at ambient pressures, scientists have predicted several new structures of carbon that could be found above 1,000 gigapascals (GPa). These pressures, approximately 2.5 times the pressure in Earth’s core, are relevant for modeling exoplanet interiors but have historically been impossible to achieve in the laboratory. That is, until now. Under the Discovery Science program, which allows academic scientists access to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) flagship National Ignition Facility (NIF), an international team of researchers led by LLNL and the University of Oxford has successfully measured carbon at pressures reaching 2,000 GPa (5 times the pressure in Earth’s core), nearly doubling the maximum pressure at which a crystal structure has ever been directly probed.

Can Sodium-Ion Batteries Replace Trusty Lithium-Ion Ones?

Sodium-ion batteries are a potential replacement for lithium batteries, but different anodes are needed for the same level of performance. Amorphous carbon is known to be a useful anode, because it has defects and voids that can be used to store sodium ions. Nitrogen/phosphorus-doped carbon also offers appealing electrical properties. In Applied Physics Reviews, researchers describe how they applied basic physical concepts of atomic scale to build high-performance anodes for sodium-ion batteries.

Rutgers Experts Available to Discuss Addressing Climate Change, Environmental Protection in 2021

New Brunswick, N.J. (Jan. 12, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick professors Robert E. Kopp and Pamela McElwee are available for interviews on how President-elect Joe Biden and his incoming administration could strengthen efforts to address climate change and protect the environment. Kopp, a professor in…

New Research Reveals Infertile Spikelets Contribute To Yield In Sorghum And Related Grasses

The researchers used radioactive and stable isotopes of carbon, RNA-seq of metabolically important enzymes, and immunolocalization of Rubisco to show that the sterile spikelet collects carbon from the air and carries out photosynthesis while the awn does not.

New drone technology improves ability to forecast volcanic eruptions

Specially-adapted drones developed by an international team have been gathering data from never-before-explored volcanoes that will enable local communities to better forecast future eruptions.
The cutting-edge research at Manam volcano in Papua New Guinea is also improving scientists’ understanding of how volcanoes contribute to the global carbon cycle, key to sustaining life on Earth.

Pandemic lockdowns caused steep and lasting carbon dioxide decline

An international team of climate experts, including Earth system scientists at the University of California, Irvine, today released an assessment of carbon dioxide emissions by industry, transportation and other sectors from January through June, showing that this year’s pandemic lockdowns resulted in a 9 percent decline from 2019 levels.

Plants without cellular recycling systems get creative in the dark

Deprived of sunlight, plants are unable to transform carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into sugars. They are essentially starved of one of their most important building blocks. New research with maize shows that plants that lack the core components for autophagy have to get creative about recycling nutrients like carbon when they’re left in the dark.

How to Get a Handle on Carbon Dioxide Uptake by Plants

How much carbon dioxide, a pivotal greenhouse gas behind global warming, is absorbed by plants on land? It’s a deceptively complicated question, so a Rutgers-led group of scientists recommends combining two cutting-edge tools to help answer the crucial climate change-related question.

Ocean Algae Get “Coup de Grace” from Viruses

Scientists have long believed that ocean viruses always quickly kill algae, but Rutgers-led research shows they live in harmony with algae and viruses provide a “coup de grace” only when blooms of algae are already stressed and dying. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, will likely change how scientists view viral infections of algae, also known as phytoplankton – especially the impact of viruses on ecosystem processes like algal bloom formation (and decline) and the cycling of carbon and other chemicals on Earth.

Rutgers-Led Project Will Buy 76,000 Oysters From Farmers Struggling During COVID-19 Pandemic

New Brunswick, N.J. (Sept. 10, 2020) – A Rutgers-led project will buy 76,000 oysters from New Jersey oyster farmers who are struggling to sell the shellfish following the shutdown of restaurants and indoor dining as a result of the COVID-19…

How to Tackle Climate Change, Food Security and Land Degradation

How can some of world’s biggest problems – climate change, food security and land degradation – be tackled simultaneously? Some lesser-known options, such as integrated water management and increasing the organic content of soil, have fewer trade-offs than many well-known options, such as planting trees, according to a Rutgers-led study in the journal Global Change Biology.

Study: Dying Stars Breathe Life Into Earth

As dying stars take their final few breaths of life, they gently sprinkle their ashes into the cosmos through the magnificent planetary nebulae. These ashes, spread via stellar winds, are enriched with many different chemical elements, including carbon.

Findings from a study published today in Nature Astronomy show that the final breaths of these dying stars, called white dwarfs, shed light on carbon’s origin in the Milky Way.

Stocks of vulnerable carbon twice as high where permafrost subsidence is factored in, new research finds

Northern Arizona University researchers Elaine Pegoraro, Christina Schädel, Emily Romano, Meghan Taylor and Ted Schuur collaborated on the study, which suggests that traditional methods of permafrost thaw measurement underestimate the amount of previously-frozen carbon unlocked from warming permafrost by more than 100 percent.

Mangrove Trees Won’t Survive Sea-Level Rise by 2050 if Emissions Aren’t Cut

Mangrove trees – valuable coastal ecosystems found in Florida and other warm climates – won’t survive sea-level rise by 2050 if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t reduced, according to a Rutgers co-authored study in the journal Science. Mangrove forests store large amounts of carbon, help protect coastlines and provide habitat for fish and other species. Using sediment data from the last 10,000 years, an international team led by Macquarie University in Australia estimated the chances of mangrove survival based on rates of sea-level rise.

UNH Researchers Find Wildfires Can Alter Arctic Watersheds for 50 Years

Climate change has contributed to the increase in the number of wildfires in the Arctic where it can dramatically shift stream chemistry and potentially harm both ecosystems and humans. Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have found that some aftereffects, like decreased carbon and increased nitrogen, can last up to five decades and could have major implications on vital waterways.

Ocean’s ‘biological pump’ captures more carbon than expected

Scientists have long known that the ocean plays an essential role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere, but a new study from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) shows that the efficiency of the ocean’s “biological carbon pump” has been drastically underestimated, with implications for future climate assessments.

How Old are Whale Sharks? Nuclear Bomb Legacy Reveals Their Age

Nuclear bomb tests during the Cold War in the 1950s and 1960s have helped scientists accurately estimate the age of whale sharks, the biggest fish in the seas, according to a Rutgers-led study. It’s the first time the age of this majestic species has been verified. One whale shark was an estimated 50 years old when it died, making it the oldest known of its kind. Another shark was an estimated 35 years old.

Global Cooling After Nuclear War Would Harm Ocean Life

A nuclear war that cooled Earth could worsen the impact of ocean acidification on corals, clams, oysters and other marine life with shells or skeletons, according to the first study of its kind.

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Climate Change Impacts on Land, Wildfires and Solutions

New Brunswick, N.J. (Jan. 15, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Pamela McElwee is available for interviews on climate change impacts on land, including increasing wildfires such as in Australia and California, and solutions. She is scheduled to testify before…