Laboratory Highlights

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January 20, 2019
(left) The diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum and flagellated bacteria. (right) Researchers studied P. tricornutum enriched in carbon-13 (red) derived from fixation of labeled carbon dioxide and bacterial symbionts enriched in nitrogen-15 (green).
Community Matters When Using Algae to Produce Energy
Algae that turn carbon dioxide into fuel feedstock are enhanced by surrounding bacteria.
January 20, 2019
An international team tracked the genomic composition of microbes in thawing permafrost to determine which had the greatest impact on releases of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.
Uncovering the Microbial Food Web in Thawing Permafrost
Recovery of more than 1500 microbial genomes shines light on how carbon is metabolized as permafrost thaws.
January 20, 2019
Helicopter view of thawing permafrost field site, Stordalen Mire, in northern Sweden.
Getting To Know the Microbes that Drive Climate Change
The genetics of viruses living along a permafrost thaw gradient may help scientists better predict the pace of climate change.
January 18, 2019
Tree death shuts off photosynthesis and increases carbon release (from dead wood), leaving more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
A Challenging Future for Tropical Forests
Mortality rates of moist tropical forests are on the rise due to environmental drivers and related mechanisms.
January 14, 2019
On the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet, well-like shafts form. Water travels through these shafts to the glacier bed below. Scientists showed how these conduits, called moulins, form.
Rapid Lake Draining on Ice Sheets Changes How Water Moves in Unexpected Ways
Widespread fracturing during lake drainage triggers vertical shafts to form that affect the Greenland Ice Sheet.
January 14, 2019
Scientists are working to better understand how aerosols, including those that build up in the air from urban environments, affect the atmosphere and Earth system processes.
New Historical Emissions Trends Estimated with the Community Emissions Data System
The data system will allow for more detailed, consistent, and up-to-date global emissions trends that will aid in understanding aerosol effects.
January 11, 2019
An international research team peered deep into the atomic-level workings of water vapor on a nickel-chromium alloy to provide new insights that could help prevent metal corrosion.
Peering into the Mist: How Water Vapor Changes Metal at the Atomic Level
New insights into molecular-level processes could help prevent corrosion and improve catalytic conversion.
January 11, 2019
An international team tracked the genomic composition of microbes (purple and green) in thawing permafrost to determine which had the most impact on releases of carbon dioxide and methane to the atmosphere.
Microbial Types May Prove Key to Gas Releases from Thawing Permafrost
Scientists discover key types of microbes that degrade organic matter and release carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.
December 26, 2018
More Designer Peptides, More Possibilities
More Designer Peptides, More Possibilities
Scientists from the University of Washington, Stanford University, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) created a computational
December 23, 2018
Deep Learning for Electron Microscopy
Deep Learning for Electron Microscopy
MENNDL, an artificial intelligence system, automatically designed an optimal deep learning network to extract structural information from raw
December 18, 2018
Clarifying Rates of Methylmercury Production
Clarifying Rates of Methylmercury Production
Mercury is a toxic element that occurs naturally and as an anthropogenic pollutant in the environment. The neurotoxin monomethylmercury (MMHg) is a
December 18, 2018
Small Particles Play Large Role in Tropical Thunderstorms
Small Particles Play Large Role in Tropical Thunderstorms
The biggest challenge in unraveling the effect of aerosols on clouds and climate is isolating their effects from changes due to other environmental
December 18, 2018
Drought Stress Changes Microbes Living at Sorghum’s Roots
Drought Stress Changes Microbes Living at Sorghum’s Roots
Drought stress can greatly reduce the health and productivity of plants, including candidate bioenergy feedstocks such as sorghum. Microbial
December 12, 2018
How to Get Nuanced Details at the Top of the World
How to Get Nuanced Details at the Top of the World
Researchers designed a novel strategy that exploits measurements obtained four ways: 1) electrical resistivity tomography to monitor soil
December 12, 2018
Future Loss of Arctic Sea-Ice Cover Could Contribute to the Substantial Decrease in California’s Rainfall
Future Loss of Arctic Sea-Ice Cover Could Contribute to the Substantial Decrease in California’s Rainfall
The dramatic Arctic sea-ice loss observed over the satellite era has intensified debate into whether these high-latitude changes are affecting
December 11, 2018
During Droughts, Bacteria Help Sorghum Continue Growing
During Droughts, Bacteria Help Sorghum Continue Growing
Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Davis, Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department
December 6, 2018
The Biermann Battery Effect: Spontaneous Generation of Magnetic Fields and Their Severing
The Biermann Battery Effect: Spontaneous Generation of Magnetic Fields and Their Severing
Magnetic reconnection occurs when oppositely directed magnetic fields are forced together in plasmas, which are excellent electrical conductors. A
December 6, 2018
Drawn into a Whirlpool: A New Way to Stop Dangerous Fast Electrons in a Fusion Device
Drawn into a Whirlpool: A New Way to Stop Dangerous Fast Electrons in a Fusion Device
Just like when pushing a playground swing, energy is only transferred from the electron beam to the whistler wave when the “pushing”
December 6, 2018
Subtlety and the Selective Art of Separating Lanthanides
Subtlety and the Selective Art of Separating Lanthanides
Fundamental understanding of selective recognition and separation of lanthanide ions by chelating agents is of crucial importance for advancing
November 28, 2018
Newly Discovered Bacteria Breaks Down Biomass
Newly Discovered Bacteria Breaks Down Biomass
Using detailed information about the molecular biology of switchgrass and corn stover—both widely used to create biofuels—scientists
November 26, 2018
Review Examines the Science and Needs of Nitrogen-Based Transformations
Review Examines the Science and Needs of Nitrogen-Based Transformations
Since 1913, ammonia has been produced via the Haber-Bosch process. The process transforms nitrogen gas into ammonia, which is packed into
November 26, 2018
New Technology Consistently Identifies Proteins from a Dozen Cells
New Technology Consistently Identifies Proteins from a Dozen Cells
Scientists at EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, developed the nanoPOTS platform to minimize sample losses and expand the
November 26, 2018
Optimal Foraging: How Soil Microbes Adapt to Nutrient Constraints
Optimal Foraging: How Soil Microbes Adapt to Nutrient Constraints
A team of scientists set out to determine whether the theory of optimal foraging, which suggests any ecological community will adjust its
November 21, 2018
How a Bacterium Uses Multiple Enzymes to Degrade Plant Biomass
How a Bacterium Uses Multiple Enzymes to Degrade Plant Biomass
Lignocellulosic biomass represents nearly 90 percent of the dry weight of total plant biomass material and is composed of cellulose and lignin.
November 21, 2018
More Designer Peptides, More Possibilities
More Designer Peptides, More Possibilities
Scientists from the University of Washington, Stanford University, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) created a computational