Long before geese started flying in chevron formation or cyclists learned the value of drafting, fungi discovered an aerodynamic way to reduce drag on their spores so as to spread them as high and as far as possible.One fungus, the destructive Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, spews thousands of spores nearly simultaneously to form a plume that reduces drag to nearly zero and even creates a wind that carries many of the spores 20 times farther than a single spore could travel alone, according to a new study by mathematicians and biologists from Harvard University, the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), and Cornell University.“In the Tour de France, riders form a peloton that can reduce air drag by 40 percent,” said Marcus Roper, co-lead author and a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Mathematics at UC Berkeley and at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “The ascospores of Sclerotinia do the peloton perfectly, reducing air drag to zero and sculpting a flow of air that carries them even farther.”Agnese Seminara, a co-lead author as well as a postdoctoral researcher and theoretical physicist in Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, added: “I realized that the spores behaved much like cloud droplets. To follow their paths, I adapted algorithms I had developed to describe cloud formation.”Presumably, the strategy helps the fungi get their spores off the ground into the foliage of their host plants, or into airstreams that can carry them to host plants, the scientists said.Roper, Seminara, and colleagues report the findings in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.“These findings could have implications for methods of controlling the spread of fungal pathogens,” said senior author Anne Pringle, associate professor of organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard. “Sclerotinia alone costs U.S. farmers $1 billion annually, including costs of controlling the fungus, and crop losses. Research directed at understanding how to disrupt the cooperative ejection of spores may provide novel tools for the control of these fungal pathogens.”Researchers in the field of bioballistics — the study of how plants, fungi, and animals accelerate seeds, spores, or even parts of their body to high speed — have found an amazing variety of techniques that overcome friction with the air, the main limitation for small spores and seeds.“Understanding how Sclerotinia is discharging its spores and getting them onto the plants will eventually lead us to new ways of looking at plant architecture,” said co-author Helene Dillard, a plant pathologist who heads Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension program and is associate dean of Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.Scientists have recognized for more than a century that many spore-producing fungi — the ascomycetes — release their spores in plumes that carry them long distances. More than 50 years ago, scientists noted that these spore plumes create a wind of their own, but the physics of the plumes was not understood, Roper said. In addition, little work has been done on how seeds or spores cooperate to improve dispersal to new environments.With training in the mathematics and physics of fluid flow, Roper and Seminara decided to investigate. The work began when Roper was a researcher in Pringle’s laboratory at Harvard.The current paper used high-speed video to clock the speed of spores ejected by Sclerotinia, finding that they are expelled at a speed of about 8.4 meters per second (19 miles per hour). However, because the spores are so small (10 microns long), air drag brings them to a stop in a mere 3 millimeters. When thousands of spores are ejected at the same time, however, some can travel more than 100 millimeters, or 4 inches.These high-speed video images enabled Roper and Seminara to model spore plume movement precisely, with standard equations of hydrodynamics. They showed that the thousands of spores ejected at the same time quickly eliminate all drag and allow the spores to travel about a centimeter, by which time the wind generated by the spores captures and whisks them to a speed of 60 centimeters per second. Their upward motion is stopped only by gravity, Roper said.The added range from “hydrodynamic cooperation” allows fungi on the ground to shoot their spores into flowers or plant wounds, where they can quickly spread throughout the plant and kill it.Often called white mold, Sclerotinia rot, or wilt, the fungus attacks more than 400 species of plants, Dillard said, including beans, sunflowers, soybeans, canola, and peanuts, and can wipe out entire fields. In spring and summer, the fungus produces cups (apothecia) about one-half centimeter across that spew spores into the air to infect plants. The fungus produces overwintering seedlike bodies called sclerotia on the infected plant tissues.“It grows across a cabbage head and produces these small sclerotia that look like mouse droppings,” Dillard said. “The sclerotia fall on the ground, and are then in position to initiate the infection process the following year.”The researchers were also curious how fungi manage to eject their spores simultaneously. To investigate this phenomenon, they grew another mold, a coprophilic fungus from the genus Ascobolus, on horse dung and focused their high-speed video camera on the 2-millimeter, cup-shaped fruiting body containing tens of thousands of spore sacs (asci), each containing eight spores. They found that, while the spore sac that ejects first seems to be random, after the first one or two go off, a wave of ejection travels outward as successive rings of spore sacs rupture in sequence. Because this happens in one-tenth of a second, the ejection seems simultaneous.“What looks like a plume is actually a series of sheets going off,” Roper said.By tweaking their mathematical model to account for this finding, Roper and Seminara discovered that cooperative ejection in sheets is a highly effective method for shooting spores long distances. The scientists continue to investigate how spore ejection is initiated, and whether and how spores can cheat to make sure that they get ejected farther than their companions.Other authors of the paper are Mahesh M. Bandi of Harvard and Ann Cobb of Cornell. The work was funded by a Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science Fellowship to Roper, by a Marie Curie Fellowship from the European Union Framework 7 to Seminara, and by Harvard University.— Steve Bradt, Harvard Staff Writer, and Bob Sanders, UC Berkeley
Notre Dame received $128 million in research funding for fiscal year 2016, the second highest total in school history, according to a University press release.This year was topped only by the 2015 fiscal year, in which the University received $133 million in research funds.“The research, scholarship and creativity of Notre Dame faculty continues to make a difference in multiple ways across our country and around the world,” University President Fr. John Jenkins said in the release. “The growth in external funding is a tangible testimony to the importance of their work.”According to the release, funded research projects cover a variety of disciplines, including energy, economics and everything in between.For example, Alan Seaubaugh, chair professor in the College of Engineering, and his research team won a $5.8 million award to support the Center for Low Energy Systems (LEAST), a Notre Dame-led initiative working to devise new concepts for energy-efficient devices to reduce power in electronic systems.For his research on advancing the empirical study of global religion in mainstream academia, sociology professor Christian Smith received a $4.9 million award from the Templeton Religion Trust.Faculty from the College of Science and College of Engineering — led by Frank Collins and Scott Emrich — received a $2.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to support Vectorbase, a bioinformatics database that provides web-based resources to the scientific community on invertebrate vectors of human pathogens.The University supports research in more than 20 facilities and in each of Notre Dame’s colleges, according to Notre Dame Research’s website.This year, 57 percent of awards came from federal funding, along with 16 percent from foundations and 15 percent from industry sponsors, according to the release. Local and state governments, foreign entities and nonprofit organizations also sponsored various research projects.“This was another strong year for Notre Dame Research and it reflects the talents of our faculty and students,” Robert Bernhard, vice president for research, said in the release. “Due to their hard work and great achievements, we are celebrating another successful year for research funding and finished strong with the highest month of funding — nearly $23 million in June — in the University’s history.”Tags: research funding
COVID-19 is having immeasurable effects on all facets of normal life. One of which is the fairly uniform closure of schools and universities for the next several weeks. With working parents trying to juggle their new remote work status and the 5, 9, 13 or 18 year-old kids at home, yes, it is a situation for potential insanity.But, never fear! The Foundation is here!We realize kids might be spending more time than usual in front of the TV – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be educational! Have them take some time to learn about finances, entrepreneurship and building a better financial financial future (perhaps without even knowing they are learning 😊). The Foundation is the proud steward of Biz Kid$, a national financial education initiative that teaches kids about money and business. And, even better, Biz Kid$ is exclusively funded and branded by credit unions!The overall objective of Biz Kid$ is to engage young people and help them develop life skills in the areas of money management and entrepreneurship. The initiative includes an Emmy award-winning television series, free classroom curriculum, outreach activities, and a website targeting kids 9 – 16 years old. It is the first national public television series promoting financial education for elementary through high school students and was created by the same team that produced “Bill Nye the Science Guy”. continue reading » 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
That’s followed at 3.30 by the game between North champions Kildangan and the beaten South finalists Killenaule.Tickets are €15 for adults and €10 for OAP’s and students.County Secretary Tim Floyd says the semi-final pairings should prove popular.And Tipp FM will have full live coverage of Sunday’s double header in association with Ciaran O’Flynn Jewellers, Thurles Shopping Centre. Hurling fans from all four Tipperary divisions will be descending on Thurles this Sunday.Semple Stadium is playing host to a double header of county semi-finals.First up it’s West Tipp champions Clonoulty Rossmore against defending County Champions Thurles Sarsfields at 1.45.
LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers promoted former major-league pitcher Brandon Gomes to the position of director of player development and filled a handful of organizational openings Friday.In addition, the Dodgers announced that Brant Brown and Luis Ortiz had been named to the dual roles of assistant hitting coach and minor-league hitting coordinator. The two will work both with the major-league team and with minor-league hitters, replacing Tim Hyers and Shawn Wooten who filled those roles last year. Hyers left to become the hitting coach on the staff of new Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora. Wooten’s contract was not renewed.The Dodgers also announced the hiring of Ron Porterfield as director of player health. Porterfield spent the past 12 years as the head trainer for the Tampa Bay Rays. He will work out of the Dodgers’ training complex in Glendale, Ariz., with oversight of medical services at the major- and minor-league levels.Gomes, 33, replaces Gabe Kapler as farm director. Kapler left to become the Philadephia Phillies’ new manager. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Gomes spent five seasons in the major leagues as a right-handed reliever with the Tampa Bay Rays (2011-15). He joined the Dodgers’ player development department a year ago in the newly-created role of pitching coordinator/performance as part of a restructuring.Like most organizations, the Dodgers had a single pitching coordinator for their minor-league pitchers. When Rick Knapp left that position following the 2016 season, the Dodgers created a pitching department with Gomes and Chris Fetter hired, splitting duties. Gomes now ascends to the lead role in the player development department after just one year.Brown spent parts of four seasons (1996-2000) in the major leagues as an outfielder with the Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates and Miami Marlins. He served as a hitting coach in the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners’ organizations since then. Ortiz played 60 games in the big leagues with the Red Sox and Rangers (1993-96) and has spent time as a minor-league coach and coordinator with the Rangers, Cleveland Indians and San Diego Padres.