Research Suggests Mushrooms Talk to Each Other With a Vocabulary of 50 ‘Words’:
Mycologists studying the underground filaments of fungi are observing electrical signals similar to a nervous system: a normal phenomenon, except that they found the signals were remarkably similar to human language. When filaments called ‘hyphae’ of a wood-digesting fungal species discover a bit of wood to munch on the underground, the hyphae begin to light up with “spikes” of electrical signals that reach out to the hyphae of other individuals, and even trees. To see what characteristics these electrical impulse spikes share with the nervous system language of other lifeforms, Adamatzky put tiny electrodes into pieces of material, feeding on which were four species: enoki, split gill, ghost, and caterpillar fungi. The authors set the electrical spikes against a series of human linguistic phenomena that were used to successfully decode part of the carved language of the Picts, the Bronze Age people of Scotland. The average length of a human-expressed vowel is between 300 and 70 milliseconds, and so they assumed that if there was a 0-millisecond break between spikes, that was part of the same “word.” It was found that the C. militaris fungi electrical signals were almost identical to the English language more than Greek and averaged around 50 words based on repetitive signals. The researchers believe that these signal structures are meant to keep the connection between mycelium strong so that communication is seamless between their large communication networks across the forest. However, Adamatzky explained that the electrical signals could also be a result of the fungi exploring the forest underground.
Light amplification accelerates chemical reactions in aerosols:
Credit: CC0 Public Domain
ETH researchers have now been able to demonstrate and quantify the reactions of aerosol particles/droplets to sunlight and have used the findings to recommend factoring it into future climate models. Using modern X-ray microscopy, chemists at ETH Zurich and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) have investigated how light amplification affects photochemical processes that take place in aerosols. They were able to demonstrate that light amplification causes these chemical processes to be two to three times faster on average than they would be without this effect. Also, on the opposite side of where sunlight was hitting the aerosol particles, the reactions were 10 times quicker on average also, informing them of a hotspot created by sunlight angling. This new research has informed climate researchers by creating a model of how all aerosols that react to sunlight in the atmosphere scatter and how they condensate and create clouds. As such, climate mapping and prediction can become all the more accurate so that climatologists can be properly informed of changes on the horizon of the Earth.
Coastal cities around the globe are sinking:
Manila in the Philippines is among the fastest sinking cities on the planet, with some areas subsiding up to 1.5 centimeters per year. MATTEO COLOMBO/DIGITALVISION/GETTY IMAGES
Coastal cities around the globe are sinking by up to several centimeters per year, on average, satellite observations reveal. The one-two punch of subsiding land and rising seas means that these coastal regions are at greater risk for flooding than previously thought, researchers report in the April 16 Geophysical Research Letters. Matt Wei, an earth scientist at the University of Rhode Island in Narragansett, and colleagues studied 99 coastal cities on six continents. Wei and his team relied on observations made from 2015 to 2020 by a pair of European satellites. Instruments onboard beam microwave signals toward Earth and then record the waves that bounce back. By measuring the timing and intensity of those reflected waves, the team determined the height of the ground with millimeter accuracy. And because each satellite flies over the same part of the planet every 12 days, the researchers were able to trace how the ground deformed over time. The largest subsidence rates — up to five centimeters per year are mostly in Asian cities like Tianjin, China; Karachi, Pakistan; and Manila, Philippines, the team found. What’s more, one-third, or 33, of the analyzed cities are sinking in some places by more than a centimeter per year. Wei and his colleagues think that the subsidence is largely caused by people. When the researchers looked at Google Earth imagery of the regions within cities that were rapidly sinking, the team saw mostly residential or commercial areas.