Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bacteria In Ice May Record Climate Change

Date:
January 14, 2009
Source:
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Summary:
Scientists in China report that small bugs deposited in ice and snow might tell how our climate has been changing.

Prof. Yao Tandong.
Credit: Image courtesy of Chinese Academy of Sciences

To many people, bacteria and climate change are like chalk and cheese: the smallest creature versus one of the biggest phenomena on earth. Not really. Scientists with the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research (ITP), Chinese Academy of Sciences and coworkers recently reported that small bugs deposited in ice and snow might tell how our climate has been changing.

The discovery might bring about a new indicator for climate change, which is by nature different from all previous physical or chemical benchmarks.

According to Prof. YAO Tandong, chief scientist of the research, bacterial abundances in ice cores vary in response to climatic conditions. With ice and snow samples taken from the Guoqu glacier on Mount Geladaindong, Yao and collaborators from ITP and Xiamen University measured the annual abundances of bacteria trapped in ice over the past seven decades. Analysis showed that bacterial levels rose with higher temperatures and dust concentrations.

The experts found that the bacterial abundance, lowest in 1938 and highest in 1997, increased in accordance with levels of oxygen-18, a natural, stable isotope of oxygen known to be well correlated with temperature. Usually, oxygen-18 concentration in ice will go up in warmer years.

The bacteria also increased with levels of dust in the core, scientists discovered when measuring calcium levels in visible dirty layers. The dust was likely transported onto the glacier during the spring dust storm season and trapped in ice through subsequent melting of the snow and ice.

Further analysis showed that seasonal factor plays a part in bacterial diversity. During the annual monsoon season, the microbes originated from very diverse environments including animal and human sources, while in non-monsoon seasons they mainly came from closer and cold environments.

The study is the first of its kind to connect bacteria with climate change for ecological studies. For a long time, world scientists kept their eye on how bacteria survive in thousand-year-old cold and dark ice cores in polar regions.

Since 2002, Prof. Yao and his colleagues have turned to exploring the microbial community in Malan and Puruogangri Ice Cores on central Tibetan Plateau. The present study on Geladaindong Ice Core is also the first high-resolution restoration of annual abundances of trapped bacteria.

Researchers will have to do more to quantify the above correlations, notes Yao, also director-general of ITP and a CAS Member.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Chinese Academy of Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Chinese Academy of Sciences. "Bacteria In Ice May Record Climate Change." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081231131813.htm>.
Chinese Academy of Sciences. (2009, January 14). Bacteria In Ice May Record Climate Change. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081231131813.htm
Chinese Academy of Sciences. "Bacteria In Ice May Record Climate Change." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081231131813.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sunken WWII U-Boat That Fired On U.S. Convoy Found

Sunken WWII U-Boat That Fired On U.S. Convoy Found

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) U-576, a long-lost German U-boat the U.S. sank in 1942, has been found just 30 miles off North Carolina's coast and near the wreckage of another ship. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Turns Out Jack The Ripper's True Identity Is Still Unknown

Turns Out Jack The Ripper's True Identity Is Still Unknown

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) After testing DNA from a shawl found near one of Jack the Ripper's victims, a scientist said he'd identified the killer. New reports refute the claim. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fish Fossil Shows First-Ever Sex Was Done Side By Side

Fish Fossil Shows First-Ever Sex Was Done Side By Side

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) A 380-million-year-old fish may be the first creature to have copulative sex - and it was side by side with arms linked, like square dancers. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
As Sweden Hunts For Sub, "Cold War" Comparisons Flourish

As Sweden Hunts For Sub, "Cold War" Comparisons Flourish

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) With Sweden on the look-out for a suspected Russian sub, a lot of people are talking about the Cold War, but is it an apt comparison? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins