Science Podcasts

Naked Scientists episode

Sun, 27th Mar 2011

Life Where the Sun Don't Shine...

A Cave in Alabama (c) Kymacpherson @ Wikipedia

Life in inaccessible places - including in caves sealed off from the Sun and around deep-sea vents - is the subject of this week's Naked Scientists.  In these intriguing environments, bacteria replace plants as the primary producers, extracting energy from the minerals around them to sustain a whole ecosystem.  We also hear about the bone-eating worms that make a meal of whale carcasses that fall to the seafloor, an engineering trick for separating mined-metals from mud and, in the news, why the world's waves are getting bigger, how sperm can be grown in a dish and a gene that drives melanoma.  Plus, the answer to the question where on Earth would you weigh the most...?

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 01:25 - Wind speeds across the seas are increasing

    Researchers have reported this week that wind speeds across the oceans have increased, on average, by at least 0.25 per cent each year for the past 23 years.

  • 04:02 - How to Synthesise Sperm

    For over 70 years scientists have been trying unsuccessfully to produce sperm in a petri dish. Now they've finally succeeded...

  • 07:28 - Getting under the Skin of Melanoma

    Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that's becoming increasingly common; in fact, the incidence of the disease has doubled in the last ten years. But now there's some good news, because, with the help of a tankful of fish, scientists at Harvard University have discovered a key ge...

  • 13:26 - How the lily blooms

    This week scientists from Harvard and The University of Science and Technology of China have worked out how the lily pops open when it blooms.

  • 15:14 - Stem cells for Macular Degeneration

    Stem cells could hold the key to a future therapy for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of sight-loss among older adults...

  • 19:07 - Separating Metals from Mud - Mining Technologies

    An important resource that we find in deep dark places are the metals and minerals we need for industry and everyday life, which means that mining minerals like copper and platinum is a multi-billion pound industry. Dave and Meera have been out exploring how you separate the me...

  • 28:30 - Unique life in a Romanian Cave

    We are looking at life that flourishes in the absence of input from the Sun, in other words, some of the most inaccessible places on the planet. One of them is Movile, a cave in Romania that has been cut-off from the outside world for over 6 million years and harbours a thrivin...

  • 35:47 - Life at Hydrothermal Vents

    It’s not just rock that can block sunlight: water does too, and you need only descend a few hundred metres to enter the aphotic zone – where sunlight is too weak for plants to photosynthesise. But there are other sources of energy on the seabed, and among them are hydrothermal ...

  • 41:48 - Planet Earth Online - Bone Eating Worms

    Another source of energy for deep sea species is the bodies of whales and other animals that fall to the sea bed. Nick Higgs, from the University of Leeds, researches whale fossils, which show tell-tale signs of a much smaller creature that could hold the key to why there’s a g...

  • 46:47 - Can radiation-feeding bacteria eliminate radiation?

    Can bacteria that live on radio isotopes help to eliminate or breakdown radiation?

  • 47:58 - How do we get samples from the deep sea?

    How is it going: to get living samples from the ocean bottom and to keep it up in natural conditions (t, light and P)?

  • 48:48 - Are animals at hydrothermal vents better in a warming climate?

    I'd be curious to know more about what (if any) links have been found between global warming and life around hydrothermal vents. Since vents themselves may vary in their output of warm water would lifeforms near them be more capable of coping with warming waters compared to other...

  • 55:33 - How do things emit light by giving off photons?

    How do things emit light by giving off photons? Do they produce new photons or just release photons that were already there? If the photon were already there, then why doesn't everything emit its own light instead of just reflecting light?



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Life where the sun does not shine.

I believe that life found in caves where there is no sun gain there energy from geotheromal springs.

Have no eyes and are rather pale Wiybit, Tue, 29th Mar 2011

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