Algae in the Oceans Often Steal Genes from Bacteria

Algae in the oceans often steal genes from bacteria to gain beneficial attributes, such as the ability to tolerate stressful environments or break down carbohydrates for food, according to a Rutgers co-authored study.
The study of 23 species of brown and golden-brown algae, published in the journal Science Advances, shows for the first time that gene acquisition had a significant impact on the evolution of a massive and ancient group of algae and protists (mostly one-celled organisms including protozoa) that help form the base of oceanic food webs.

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New geochemical tool reveals origin of Earth’s nitrogen

Researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and their colleagues used a new geochemical tool to shed light on the origin of nitrogen and other volatile elements on Earth, which may also prove useful as a way to monitor the activity of volcanoes. Their findings were published April 16, 2020, in the journal Nature.

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Scientists Have Discovered the Origins of the Building Blocks of Life

Rutgers researchers have discovered the origins of the protein structures responsible for metabolism: simple molecules that powered early life on Earth and serve as chemical signals that NASA could use to search for life on other planets. Their study, which predicts what the earliest proteins looked like 3.5 billion to 2.5 billion years ago, is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Heat Stress May Affect More Than 1.2 Billion People Annually by 2100

Heat stress from extreme heat and humidity will annually affect areas now home to 1.2 billion people by 2100, assuming current greenhouse gas emissions, according to a Rutgers study. That’s more than four times the number of people affected today, and more than 12 times the number who would have been affected without industrial era global warming.

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Iconic ‘pale blue dot’ photo – Carl Sagan’s idea – turns 30

The iconic photograph of planet Earth from distant space – the “pale blue dot” – was taken 30 years ago – Feb. 14, 1990, at a distance of 3.7 billion miles, by the NASA spacecraft Voyager 1 as it zipped toward the far edge of the solar system. The late Cornell astronomy professor Carl Sagan came up with the idea for the snapshot, and coined the phrase.

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How Planets May Form After Dust Sticks Together

Scientists may have figured out how dust particles can stick together to form planets, according to a Rutgers co-authored study that may also help to improve industrial processes. In homes, adhesion on contact can cause fine particles to form dust bunnies. Similarly in outer space, adhesion causes dust particles to stick together. Large particles, however, can combine due to gravity – an essential process in forming asteroids and planets. But between these two extremes, how aggregates grow has largely been a mystery until now.

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Rutgers Researchers Teach Lessons on Extraterrestrial Life in Local Elementary Schools

Each week, researchers with Rutgers ENIGMA teach astrobiology lessons to children in grades four through eight at McKinley Community School and Greater New Brunswick Charter School. Astrobiology is a relatively new interdisciplinary field that seeks to understand whether life arose elsewhere and whether we can detect it.

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