Today at Berkeley Lab

Why Do Geysers Erupt? It Boils Down to Plumbing

A team led by earth scientist Michael Manga has gained striking new insights into the basic mechanics of geysers by placing surveillance cameras inside them and building a model of their plumbing. They show that the great regularity of a geyser’s eruptions is explained by kinks, or loops, in the geyser’s pipes, which trap steam. More>

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First Detailed Microscopy Evidence of Bacteria at Lower Size Limit of Life

Scientists — including the Lab’s Jill Banfield, Susannah Tringe, Luis Commolli, and Hoi-Ying Holman — have captured the first detailed microscopy images of ultra-small bacteria, believed to be about as small as life can get. There hasn’t been a comprehensive electron microscopy and DNA-based description of the microbes until now. More>

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First Direct Observation of CO2’s Increasing Greenhouse Effect

Researchers measured atmospheric carbon dioxide’s increasing capacity to absorb thermal radiation emitted from the Earth’s surface over an eleven-year period at two locations in North America. They attributed this upward trend to rising CO2 levels from fossil fuel emissions. More>

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Latest ‘Genome-to-Watershed’ Video Looks at Microorganisms

The third installment of the video “trilogy” related to the DOE–BER Genome-to-Watershed Scientific Focus Area (SFA) 2.0 project, entitled “SFA 2.0-Metabolic Potential,” describes the powerful influence of metabolic potential—the collective metabolic capabilities of subsurface microbial communities. More>

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Kavli Roundtable on the Nanotech View of the Microbiome

Berkeley Lab earth scientist Eoin Brodie joins a roundtable discussion of how nanoscience could aid the study of microbiomes — ubiquitous communities of microorganisms that mediate interactions of plants and animals with their environments. More>

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Microbes to Biomes (M2B) Town Hall on Feb. 20

The event — which will explore the M2B initiative and FY16 LDRD opportunities — runs from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Building 50 Auditorium. Eoin Brodie, Peter Nico, Javier Ceja Navarro, Tanja Woyke, Matt Blow, Susan Celniker, and Ben Brown will provide short presentations and participate in a panel-based discussion. Go here for more on M2B.

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Earthquake Potential of Carbon Sequestration?

An article in Science News by Charles Petit discusses geological carbon sequestration and its potential for triggering earthquakes. Earth scientist Jonny Rutqvist is mentioned prominently as the leader of several modeling studies investigating “multiple scenarios of sustained large-scale deep CO2 injections.” More>

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Earth Scientist Identifies Hot Moments in Cool Watershed

Narrated by ESD’s Environmental Remediation and Water Resources Program Lead Ken Williams, this video, entitled “SFA 2.0—Watershed Structure and Controls,” explains the importance of a watershed—an ensemble of vegetation, land-surface terrain, and subsurface compartments from and through which rivers drain. More>

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Second Genome: Microbes Fighting Disease

Earth Sciences Ecology Department Lead Gary Andersen and former Lab researcher Todd DeSantis are mentioned in a recent Fast Company magazine article covering Second Genome, the South San Francisco biotechnology company focusing on the microbiome and using gut bacteria to fight disease. More>

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Screening Plants for Potential Natural Products

A team led by earth scientist Tamas Torok demonstrated in vitro biodiversity is sufficiently broad enough to be used for natural plant product screening. In vitro cultures showed enough biodiversity to serve as a faster, cheaper and more stable alternative to intact plants for natural product screening. More>

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