Studland Beach “abandoned” to Erosion

The National Trust have made the decision to end their losing battle against erosion at one of Dorset’s most popular beaches. Previously the trust have used gabions (metal grilles filled with rocks) to try and dissipate the force of the waves, however these have been washed away! In 25 years it is estimated that the sea at Studland has encroached by 300 metres.

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The National Trust have decided they will now concentrate their efforts on supporting the new habitats that will be created as a result of the erosion.

For more information read this article from The Daily Telegraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/3965052/National-Trust-abandons-beach-to-erosion.html

Mrs M

LUCA and its Leaky Membrane

Chemiosmosis Theory is probably the most important biological theory full stop. It’s this utilisation of a proton flow across a membrane by a particular enzyme (ATPsynthase) to generate the molecules of  ATP. These ATP molecules are vital for any cellular process as it provides the energy for metabolic reactions.

Yet what’s incredible about this particular utilisation of protons, is that it is present in each living cell in every living organism on Earth, including single celled organisms such as Bacteria and Archaea.  This means that sometime during evolutionary time,  a common ancestor for every species since has evolved the ability to utilise chemiosmosis. We shall refer to this ancestor as the ‘Last Universal Common Ancestor’, or LUCA. chemioThe argument has been that LUCA would not have been able to generate ATP as after the protons diffuse in to the cell, the concentration gradient would be reversed resulting in an isotonic solution with equal proton concentration outside and within the cell. Thus no chemiosmosis to generate ATP.

However a single study has theorised that if LUCA’s plasma membrane was leaky it would be able to continue to utilise chemiosmosis:  http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0814/130814_LUCA_leaky_membrane

 

 

“We can do science, and with it, we can improve our lives…” Carl Sagan

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