Algae might seem easy to ignore, but they are the ultimate source of all organic matter that marine animals depend upon. Humans are increasingly dependent on algae, too, to suck up climate-warming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sink it to the bottom of the ocean. Now, by using a combination of satellite imagery and laboratory experiments, researchers have evidence showing that viruses infecting those algae are driving the life-and-death dynamics of the algae’s blooms, even when all else stays essentially the same, and this has important implications for our climate.
According to results, reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology today, a single North Atlantic algal bloom, about 30 kilometers in radius, converted 24,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into organic carbon via a process known as carbon fixation. Two-thirds of that carbon turned over within a week as that bloom grew at a very rapid rate and then quickly met its demise. A closer look at those algae revealed high levels of specific viruses infecting their cells.
A new study suggests that colds and other minor infections may temporarily increase stroke risk in children. The study is published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
“While the study does show an increased risk, the overall risk of stroke among children is still extremely low,” said Lars Marquardt, of the Univ. of Erlangen-Nuremberg, who wrote a corresponding editorial. “Minor infections are very common in children while strokes are thankfully very rare. Parents should not be alarmed whatsoever if a child catches a simple cold.”