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August 23, 2019
A faceted metal island of the rare-earth element dysprosium formed under a layer of graphite. The team deposited the metal at 577 degrees Celsius after they bombarded graphite with argon ions.
Getting Metal Under Graphite’s Skin
A new route to make metal beneath a layer of graphite opens potentially new applications in solar cells and quantum computing.
August 23, 2019
Microbial Merry-Go-Round.  In this metaphorical carousel, the velocity of each bacterial cell indicates its relative growth rate. New data indicate that this metaphor applies over a range of ecosystems, from high desert grassland to subalpine prairie.
Microbial Evolution: Nature Leads, Nurture Supports
Across ecosystems, microbial traits are preserved along lineages, much like in multicellular organisms, and can improve the development of soil models
June 24, 2019
Forests and microbes are symbiotically connected globally.
Trees Consider the Climate When Choosing Their Partners
Forest trees establish symbiotic relationships with microbes depending on how the climate determines the rate of soil organic matter decomposition.
June 14, 2019
Visualization shows circular plasmids (mobile genetic elements) from two ground water samples taken in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (sample F, blue; sample G; green). Using a newly devised method, researchers discovered more than 600 plasmids.
Microbes Retain Toxicity Tolerance After They Escape Toxic Elements
Ground water microbes living outside a contaminated area contain mobile genetic elements that provide them resistance to heavy metals.
June 6, 2019
In the North-Central Atlantic Ocean near the center of the simulation snapshot, a hurricane is visible as a dot of gray and from the cold water (green) it stirred up in the otherwise warm (red) Central Atlantic Ocean.
Watching the Rain in Climate Models
Scientists use supercomputers to determine how reliably a popular Earth system model represents precipitation regionally and globally.
June 6, 2019
To determine key behaviors in a self-healing material—a composite of cement and a polymer—for underground wells, researchers built a simulation that explained molecular-level interactions.
Simulations Shed Light on Self-Healing Cement
A first-of-its-kind computer simulation reveals self-healing cement for geothermal and oil and gas wells performs better than originally thought.
March 21, 2019
Foreground: microbial community under dry conditions (left) and microbial community under irrigated conditions (right).
Some Bacteria Make a Big Difference in Dryland Wheat Farming
Even a single species of bacteria can positively affect soils and plants, improving and even enabling agriculture in semi-arid areas.
March 14, 2019
A research team is advancing understanding of how microbial communities function in the wild, by studying rumen of live moose foraging in the field.
Sampling Guts of Live Moose to Understand How They Break Down Biomass
First-of-a-kind study advances understanding of microbial and viral communities involved in biomass breakdown.
March 14, 2019
Scientists are studying the microbial communities created during the fracking process to see how they can be managed to improve gas production.
How Injected Microbes Persist in Hydraulically Fractured Shale
Scientists reveal the importance of an amino acid that supplies energy and protection for microbial communities deep underground.
March 14, 2019
New geochemical research clearly shows how toxic material like uranium binds with iron-bearing minerals like hematite in the soil, allowing scientists to predict long-term behavior.
Fitting a Square Peg in a Round Hole: The Surprising Structure of Uranium Bound in Hematite
An atomic view of how toxic uranium binds to iron minerals in the environment enables better predictions of its behavior.
March 1, 2019
Cryo-soft X-ray tomography of an algal cell shows the large accumulation of fat (yellow). Nucleus, purple; chloroplast, green; mitochondria, red; lipid bodies, yellow.
Feeding Sugars to Algae Makes Them Fat
Adding glucose to a green microalga culture induces accumulation of fatty acids and other valuable bioproducts.
February 28, 2019
Carbon and energy balances may prove to be a simplified way to predict microbial functions in soils that are often flooded and how such functions effect climate, soil health, and crop productivity.
A Simplified Way to Predict the Function of Microbial Communities
A pioneering study on how microbes work could advance models of frequently flooded soil’s elements and nutrients.
February 27, 2019
Root nodules, which allow some bacteria to fix nitrogen into soils for greater plant productivity, have a surprisingly complex metabolism, which could be optimized to develop more sustainable agriculture.
Unexpected Complexity: A 3D Look into Plant Root Relationships with Nitrogen-Fixing Bacteria
Scientists develop a molecular map of metabolic products of bacteria in root nodules to aid sustainable agriculture.
February 27, 2019
Ozone damage starts as stipple, which are dark pinpoint spots, visible on the left side of this snap bean leaf. The more extensive yellow-ringed brown patches on the top and right side of this leaf are evidence of severe ozone damage.
Maximizing Ozone Signals
Technique enables efficient & precise estimates of trends in ozone & other atmospheric constituents within selected geographical regions & timeframes.
February 27, 2019
This map is an example from the global gridded data set that shows the spatial distribution of annual mean water withdrawal in six sectors.
How Much Water Does the World Use?
Global data set shows monthly water use by irrigation, manufacturing, and other uses, helping researchers to analyze water use by region and season.
February 26, 2019
Composite images of 16 radiographs of 11-week-old poplar seedling in sand (top). The intensity indicates water content (bottom).
Get to the Root: Tiny Poplar Roots Extract More Water than Their Larger Counterparts after Drought
Researchers link root water uptake to root traits and assess (poor) performance of common models.
February 26, 2019
The scientists used radiometers, shown here, to isolate the signal of methane’s greenhouse effect. Radiometers are among the many instruments at ARM’s Southern Great Plains observatory the team used as part of this study.
First Observation of Methane’s Increasing Greenhouse Effect at the Earth’s Surface
Predictions of the direct impacts of greenhouse gases must account for local temperature and humidity conditions.
February 26, 2019
Who Can Sort the Rain?
Surface measurements of rain drop sizes shed light on cloud processes and cloud types.
February 25, 2019
In freshwater wetlands of the Great Lakes region, mercury accumulation in plants poses a significant human health concern. In a 2018 study, researchers showed the influence of wetland vegetation in regulating mercury toxicity in a Great Lakes estuary.
Why Toxic Methylmercury Production Increased in a Great Lakes Estuary
Research offers evidence that microbes and organic matter raise toxin levels, potentially helping improve mercury monitoring.
February 25, 2019
In areas with weak surface winds, additional evaporation from the ocean’s surface is a major energy source for driving tropical patterns that create rainfall.
Gust or Bust: Blustery Winds Important for Modeling Tropical Rainfall
Researchers find gusty winds increase surface evaporation that drives summer rainstorms in the Tropical West Pacific.
February 24, 2019
Phytoplankton: the foundation of the oceanic food chain.
Starving the Oceans
Nutrients increasingly moving to the deep ocean with strong climate warming could lead to drastic drops in surface ocean life and fishery yields.
February 4, 2019
Productivity of vegetation is linked to spatial position across the tundra landscape.
Controls on Nitrogen Nutrient Availability in the Arctic Tundra
Soil moisture is key to determining plant growth and nutrient cycling in complex tundra landscapes.
February 4, 2019
Computer model offers detailed view of water cycling and complex Earth system dynamics.
Coupling Computer Models Shows Interactions among River Water, Groundwater, and Land Surfaces
Computer model offers detailed view of water cycling and complex Earth system dynamics.
February 1, 2019
Pictures of three natural organic matter fractions extracted from sediment show the fractions are water extractable (MQ-SPE), acid-soluble pyrophosphate extractable (PP-SPE), and acid-insoluble pyrophosphate extractable (PP >1 kD).
New Approach Gets Better View of Carbon Deeper Underground
Characterizing carbon stored in deeper sediments below soils is critical for understanding the stability and dynamics of Earth’s carbon pool.
February 1, 2019
The Thwaites Ice Shelf in West Antarctica is one of the largest regional contributors to sea level rise.
Near-Term Ocean Warming Around Antarctica Affects Long-Term Rate of Sea Level Rise
Scientists investigate a threshold for rapid ice-sheet degradation in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.