Diving for Microbes

Caltech scientists are diving into the sea to study methane-eating microbes. A thousand meters deep on the sea floor, with no light and little oxygen, these critters sustain an entire ecosystem. The researchers are learning that the bugs support life on Earth, preventing methane—a greenhouse gas—from further warming the planet and ensuring the global flow of nutrients. Sharing DNA with the first lifeforms, they may reveal something about Earth’s history.

Elementary School Students Tour Caltech's Tectonics Observatory and Seismo Lab

Sixty sixth graders from Hamilton Elementary School in Pasadena recently visited campus to tour of Caltech's Tectonics Observatory and Seismological Laboratory.

 

 

Caltech Receives More than $33 Million from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Research in genomic sciences, astronomy, seismology, and neuroeconomics are some of the many projects being funded at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Caltech Scientists Discover Fog on Titan

Saturn's largest moon, Titan, looks to be the only place in the solar system—aside from our home planet, Earth—with copious quantities of liquid (largely, liquid methane and ethane) sitting on its surface. According to Caltech planetary astronomer Mike Brown, Earth and Titan share yet another feature, which is inextricably linked with that surface liquid: common fog. 

Caltech Scientists Explain Puzzling Lake Asymmetry on Titan

Researchers at Caltech suggest that the eccentricity of Saturn's orbit around the sun may be responsible for the unusually uneven distribution of lakes over the northern and southern polar regions of the planet's largest moon, Titan. A paper describing the theory appears in the November 29th advance online edition of Nature Geoscience

Caltech Researchers Reveal Unexpected Sources of Nitrogen Fixation

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have identified an unexpected metabolic ability within a symbiotic community of microorganisms that may help solve a lingering mystery about the world's nitrogen cycling budget. A paper about their work appears in the October 16 issue of the journal Science.

Caltech Scientists Discover Storms in the Tropics of Titan

Saturn's moon Titan is dull, weatherwise. Nothing happens for years, making it hard to understand the carved channels that seem to line the surface. Now Titan has finally been caught in the act. Caltech planetary astronomer Mike Brown and his colleagues set a trap for Titan, waited years for it to be tripped, and, finally, nabbed their prey: bright but transient clouds over Titan's tropics, a region where clouds were thought unlikely to form.

Caltech Researchers Show How Organic Carbon Compounds Emitted by Trees Affect Air Quality

A previously unrecognized player in the process by which gases produced by trees and other plants become aerosols—microscopically small particles in the atmosphere—has been discovered by a research team led by scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Their research on the creation and effects of these chemicals, called epoxides, is being featured in this week's issue of the journal Science.

 

Caltech, JPL Scientists Say that Microbial Mats Built 3.4-Billion-Year-Old Stromatolites

Stromatolites are dome- or column-like sedimentary rock structures that are formed in shallow water, layer by layer, over long periods of geologic time. Now, researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have provided evidence that some of the most ancient stromatolites on our planet were built with the help of communities of equally ancient microorganisms.

Unique Sky Survey Brings New Objects into Focus

An innovative sky survey has begun returning images that will be used to detect unprecedented numbers of powerful cosmic explosions–called supernovae–in distant galaxies, and variable brightness stars in our own Milky Way.

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