Using sphere packing models to explain the structure of forests

Explaining the complex structure of tropical forests is one of the great challenges in ecology. An issue of special interest is the distribution of different sizes of trees, something which is of particular relevance for biomass estimates. A team of modellers has now developed a new method that can be used to explain the tree size distribution in natural forests. To do so, the scientists use principles from stochastic geometry. Using this approach, it is possible to assess the structure of natural forests across the world more quickly, and produce more accurate biomass estimates. —> Read More

Surprise: One organism responsible for nitrification instead of two

It could never be found until recently, in a fish tank a few floors below a university microbiology department: one single organism able to perform the complete process of nitrification. Microbiologists used to think that two distinct groups of bacteria were responsible for the stepwise oxidation of ammonia to nitrate via nitrite. This discovery has implications for climate research and wastewater treatment, say the scientists involved in the study. —> Read More

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