Mon, Oct

Crews work to install the bioreactor outside the Energy Systems Integration Facility on the NREL campus. Photo credit: Werner Slocum, NREL 47275.

The interior of the newest addition to the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) contains a murky mixture of a microorganism at home in the alkaline waters of an Icelandic hot spring that holds a possible solution to storing renewable electricity.

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A corallith. Photo credit: Sebastian Hennige

Resilient species of coral can move to inhospitable areas and lay the foundations for new reefs, a study shows. Edinburgh scientists have discovered that these tough, mobile corals can create their own stable habitats, which act as a base upon which other species can attach and build reefs.

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Coral reef near the Line Islands.

Coral reefs harbor an incredible diversity of life, both sea creatures we can see and microbial life that we cannot. These organisms generate an enormous number of molecules as they eat food, photosynthesize, reproduce and ward off infections.

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The life cycles of many Antarctic species, such as krill (Euphausia superba), are closely linked to sea ice.

A new multidisciplinary study led by scientists at British Antarctic Study (BAS) stresses the need for an integrated approach to understand the effects of climate change on Antarctic marine ecosystems. The paper is published October 2017 in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, and features as a research highlight in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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Cassiopea, a primitive jellyfish. Researchers have found that in spite of having no brain or spine, the creatures still end each day with a snooze.

At first glance, humans seem to have very little in common with Cassiopea, a primitive jellyfish. Cassiopea is brainless, spineless, and spends essentially its entire life sitting upside down on the ocean floor, pulsating every few seconds.

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Hurricane Maria approaches Puerto Rico, as visualized using NASA satellite technology. Image created by the Visualization Studio at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Let’s get right to it. Understanding the dynamics of our Earth, including disasters like hurricanes and droughts, has never seemed more important. As if on cue, we have a confirmation hearing for the NASA Administrator nominee coming down the pike. Is President Trump’s nominee, Representative Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), the right fit?

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The new study revealed a previously unsuspected pathway for radioactive material to be transported, stored for years, and subsequently released far from the site where it was initially discharged. Illustration by Natalie Renier, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Scientists have found a previously unsuspected place where radioactive material from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster has accumulated—in sands and brackish groundwater beneath beaches up to 60 miles away. The sands took up and retained radioactive cesium originating from the disaster in 2011 and have been slowly releasing it back to the ocean.

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Photograph taken Sunday, October 1, 2017 facing north on Jupiter Island at the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge beach access showing seagrass rhizome wrack. Photo credit: Mark Fonseca.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria passed over or sent large waves over broad geographic extents of seagrass habitat in Florida, the Caribbean Leeward and Windward Islands and the Bahamas. There have been reports of large rafts of floating seagrass.

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