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Abstract

A filamentous benthic cyanobacteria, strain USMAC16, was isolated from the High Arctic Svalbard archipelago, Norway, and a combination of morphological, ultrastructural and molecular characterisation (16S rRNA gene sequence) used to identify to species level. Cell dimensions, thylakoid arrangement and apical cell shape are consistent with the Pseudanabaena genus description. The molecular characterisation of P. catenata gave 100% similarity with Pseudanabaena catenata SAG 1464-1, originally reported from Germany. Strain USMAC16 was cultured under a range of temperature and photoperiod conditions, in solid and liquid media, and harvested at exponential phase to examine its phenotypic plasticity. Under different culture conditions, we observed considerable variations in cell dimensions. The longest cell (5.91±0.13 μm) was observed at 15°C under 12:12 light:dark, and the widest cell (3.24±0.06 μm) at 4°C under 12:12 light: dark in liquid media. The study provides baseline data documenting the morphological variation of P. catenata in response to changing temperature regimes.
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Abstract

It is assumed that close to the margins of ice-sheets, glacial, fluvial and aeolian processes overlap, and combined with weathering processes, produce numerous sediments, in which quartz is a common mineral. Quartz grains, if available, may serve as a powerful tool in determining the depositional history, transportation mode and postdepositional processes. However, quartz grain studies in some modern glacial areas are still sparse. In this study, we examine for the first time quartz grains sampled from the modern glacial and proglacial environments of the Russell Glacier, southwest Greenland in binocular microscope and scanning electron microscope, to analyze their shape, character of surface and microtextures. We debate whether the investigated quartz grains reveal glacial characteristics and to what extent they carry a signal of another transportation and sedimentary processes. Although glacial fracturing and abrasion occur in grain suites, most mechanical origin features are not of a high frequency or freshness, potentially suggesting a reduced shear stress in the glacier from its limited thickness and influence of the pressurized water at the ice-bed. In contrast, the signal that originates from the fluvial environment is much stronger derived by numerous aqueous-induced features present on quartz grain surfaces. Aeolian-induced microtextures on grain surfaces increase among the samples the closest to the ice margin, which may be due to enhanced aeolian activity, but are practically absent in sediments taken from the small scale aeolian landforms. In contrast, aeolian grains have been found in the bigger-size (1.0-2.0 mm) investigated fraction. These grains gained the strongest aeolian abrasion, possibly due to changes in transportation mode.
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Abstract

The specific activity of natural gamma emitters like actinium (228Ac), bismuth (212Bi, 214Bi), lead (212Pb, 214Pb), potassium (40K), radium (224Ra), thallium (208Tl) and artificial radioisotope caesium (137Cs) was measured in 2005 in the surface layer of marine sediments in the northern Svalbard: Wijdefjorden, Woodfjorden, Vestfjorden and Bockfjorden as well as in the freshwater reservoirs in Andre Land. Nonuniform spatial distribution of these radionuclides was found. Sediment sample from Bockfjorden had the highest specific activities of all natural radionuclides. The specific radioactivity of 137Cs was much lower than specific radioactivities of natural radionuclides but there were differences between investigated locations. The distribution of 137Cs is similar to persistent organic pollutants of the lake sediments in the area.
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Abstract

AbstractThis papers refers to demographic processes in the period from the 19th century through to the present and tries to define what they will look like in the future. Demographic trends i.a. relating to fertility, mortality, migrations, the process of family-union-household formation and dissolution, and the process of population ageing, are described by the concepts of demographic transformations: first, second and third. The transformation of demographic trends has coexisted and will coexist with globalization processes, though the scope of the mutual influence changes over time. Despite the fact that it takes place in various geographical regions, the transformation of demographic trends is characterised by high cultural diversity and socio-economic development.
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Abstract

AbstractThis paper covers work intended to study the interplay of sedimentary dynamics and climatic variability over the last two millennia within Tunisia’s sebkha Souassi. Based on the Visual Core Description, and magnetic susceptibility, we date the core from sebkha Souassi to the last two millennia. Genetic grain-size distribution then provided a basis for the identification of six climatic stages, i.e. the Warming Present (WP), the Late Little Ice Age (Late LIA), the Early Little Ice Age (ELIA), the Medieval Climatic Anomaly (MCA), the Dark Ages (DA), and the Roman Warm Period (RWP). The WP stretches across the uppermost 3 cm, with a high grey scale indicating a dry climate. The Late LIA is located between 3 and 7 cm, and the ELIA between 7 and 28 cm. Intermediate values for GS indicate that this stage may be classified as moderate. The MCA spanning from 28 to 40 cm is marked by a sharp decrease in GS indicative of a wet period. The DA appear along the part between 40 and 79 cm, a shift from light to dark sediments being recorded. The RWP in turn appears between 79 and 114 cm. Based on the grain-size distribution, two low-frequency cycles were identified, indicating radical global changes in climatic conditions, differential tectonics and groundwater fluctuations. High-frequency cycles in turn attest to local modifications of climatic conditions.
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