Press Releases

Monday, November 17, 2014

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New work from a team led by Carnegie’s Greg Asner shows the limitations of long-used research methods in tropical rainforest ecology and points to new technological approaches for understanding forest structures and systems on large geographic scales. For decades, the primary method of studying tropical forests has been field inventory plots—specially selected areas assumed to represent their surrounding forested landscapes.The Carnegie team used advanced three-dimensional forest mapping techniques provided by the Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO) to determine how representative typical field plots actually are of their surroundings in forested landscapes.

Monday, November 17, 2014

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Silicon is the second most-abundant element in the earth's crust. When purified, it takes on a diamond structure, which is essential to modern electronic devices—carbon is to biology as silicon is to technology. A team of Carnegie scientists led by Timothy Strobel has synthesized an entirely new form of silicon, one that promises even greater future applications. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Carnegie astronomer Mark Phillips, interim director of the Las Campanas Observatory, is one of a group of scientists being honored with the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. The prize recognizes “major insights into the deepest questions of the Universe” and is being shared by two research teams, the Supernova Cosmology Project and the High-Z Supernova Search Team, of which Phillips is a member. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Carnegie announced today that it will receive Phase II funding through Grand Challenges Explorations, an initiative created by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that enables individuals worldwide to test bold ideas to address persistent health and development challenges. Department of Plant Biology Director Wolf Frommer, together with a team of researchers from the International Rice Research Institute, Kansas State University, and Iowa State University, will continue to pursue an innovative global health research project, titled “Transformative Strategy for Controlling Rice Blight.”

Thursday, November 13, 2014

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Plants grow in environments where the availability of light fluctuates quickly and drastically, for example from the shade of clouds passing overhead or of leaves on overhanging trees blowing in the wind. Plants thus have to rapidly adjust photosynthesis to maximize energy capture while preventing excess energy from causing damage. So how do plants prevent these changes in light intensity from affecting their ability to harvest the energy they need to survive? The response has to be extremely swift. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

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A key to understanding Earth’s evolution is to look deep into the lower mantle—a region some 400 to 1,800 miles (660 to 2,900 kilometers) below the surface, just above the core. Data have suggested that deep, hot, fluid magma oceans of melted silicates, a major Earth material, may reside above the core-mantle boundary. Researchers including Carnegie’s Alex Goncharov have found that the deep Earth materials conduct far less heat under increasing pressure than previously thought. The results indicate the presence of dense, dark magma heat traps that could affect the flow of heat across the core-mantle boundary revealing a different model of heat transport in this region.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

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A two-person team of Carnegie's Scott Sheppard and Chadwick Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory has discovered a new active asteroid, called 62412, in the Solar System's main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It is the first comet-like object seen in the Hygiea family of asteroids. Active asteroids are a newly recognized phenomenon. 62412 is only the 13th known active asteroid in the main asteroid belt. Sheppard and Trujillo estimate that there are likely about 100 of them in the main asteroid belt, based on their discovery.

Monday, November 10, 2014

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A new high-resolution mapping strategy has revealed billions of tons of carbon in Peruvian forests that can be preserved as part of an effort to sequester carbon stocks in the fight against climate change. A team led by Carnegie’s Greg Asner developed this new approach for prioritizing carbon conservation efforts throughout tropical countries. The low cost of conducting their project means that the same approach can be rapidly implemented in any country, thereby supporting both national and international commitments to reduce and offset carbon emissions. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

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Cells often face low-oxygen conditions at night. When this happens, some organisms such as the single-cell alga Chlamydomonas are able to generate cellular energy from the breakdown of sugars without taking up oxygen.Although critical to the survival of common aquatic and terrestrial organisms that are found all over the planet, many of the details regarding this low-oxygen energy creation process are poorly understood.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

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As animals age, their immune systems gradually deteriorate, a process called immunosenescence. It is associated with systemic inflammation and chronic inflammatory disorders, as well as with many cancers. The causes underlying this age-associated inflammation, and how it leads to diseases, are poorly understood. New work sheds light on one protein’s involvement in suppressing immune responses in aging fruit flies.