Briefly

    A new study conducted by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography shows that phytoplankton, microscopic plants that free-float through the world’s oceans, hold a fundamental warming influence on the planet by capturing and absorbing the sun’s radiation.

    Robert Frouin and Sam Iacobellis, who authored the study, argue that radiation that otherwise might be reflected back to space is absorbed by phytoplankton and results in a global climate warmer by 0.1 to 0.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

    The new findings also refute arguments in favor of reducing global warming by fertilizing the oceans with iron, through which phytoplankton would be able to draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, thereby reducing global warming. The Frouin-Iacobellis study, however, indicates that increasing the amount of phytoplankton in the ocean, which would probably be a consequence of iron fertilization, would actually increase global warming because more radiation would be absorbed.

    The study, which was supported by NASA, the Department of Energy and the California Space Institute, is published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

    Scripps to study Mission Bay water movement

    As part of the Mission Bay Contaminant Dispersion Study, scientists from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography will use dye to track Mission Bay water movement Nov. 13 through Dec. 24.

    The goals of the study are to understand where pollutants — fecal bacteria in particular — travel when introduced into the bay, how long they remain there, how quickly their concentrations are diluted, and how to identify which parts of the bay are most susceptible to pollutants.

    City officials note that the bright red or green dyes, Fluoroscene and Rhodamine FWT, are absolutely nontoxic and harmless to all swimmers, wildlife and the environment.

    Other elements of the multi-year project include meters to measure currents, instruments that measure the water’s temperature and salinity, and the use of “”drifters,”” which are underwater kites equipped with satellite GPS units that record the track along which water is flowing.

    UCSD scientist wins award for microscopic image

    UCSD School of Medicine researcher Thomas Deerinck was awarded first place in the recent 28th Annual Nikon International Small World Photomicrography Competition for his microscopic image of a small portion of rat brain.

    Deerinck explained that his winning image, which was selected out of 800 images submitted by 300 entrants from around the world, was derived from ongoing brain research efforts at UCSD’s National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research, where he and his colleagues use high-resolution microscopy to map the distribution of important brain proteins.

    With this information, neuroscientists will have a better understanding of the structure and function of the brain, which researchers use to study the causes of illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and develop potential treatment.

    The top 12 winning images in the contest are featured in Nikon’s annual four-color calendar, displayed on its Web site, http://www.nikonusa.com, and will be shown in a national museum tour in 2003. Deerinck’s first-place award included $5,000 in Nikon equipment and travel.

    Career Services offers new internship service

    Internship information and opportunities can now be accessed by students in the Career Services Center’s new Internship Resource Room, which features career-specific internship books and internship directories.

    Computers are also available in the Resource Room so that students can access the Internship SuperSite at http://career.ucsd.edu, which encompasses more than 3,000 local, regional and national listings per year. The site also links students to UCSD department Web sites that include information on mentoring, fellowships, field experiences and research opportunities.

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