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      Biosilicification Drives a Decline of Dissolved Si in the Oceans through Geologic Time

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          A negative feedback mechanism for the long-term stabilization of Earth's surface temperature

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            SILICON.

            Silicon is present in plants in amounts equivalent to those of such macronutrient elements as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, and in grasses often at higher levels than any other inorganic constituent. Yet except for certain algae, including prominently the diatoms, and the Equisetaceae (horsetails or scouring rushes), it is not considered an essential element for plants. As a result it is routinely omitted from formulations of culture solutions and considered a nonentity in much of plant physiological research. But silicon-deprived plants grown in conventional nutrient solutions to which silicon has not been added are in many ways experimental artifacts. They are often structurally weaker than silicon-replete plants, abnormal in growth, development, viability, and reproduction, more susceptible to such abiotic stresses as metal toxicities, and easier prey to disease organisms and to herbivores ranging from phytophagous insects to mammals. Many of these same conditions afflict plants in silicon-poor soils-and there are such. Taken together, the evidence is overwhelming that silicon should be included among the elements having a major bearing on plant life.
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              Present and future global distributions of the marine Cyanobacteria Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus.

              The Cyanobacteria Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus account for a substantial fraction of marine primary production. Here, we present quantitative niche models for these lineages that assess present and future global abundances and distributions. These niche models are the result of neural network, nonparametric, and parametric analyses, and they rely on >35,000 discrete observations from all major ocean regions. The models assess cell abundance based on temperature and photosynthetically active radiation, but the individual responses to these environmental variables differ for each lineage. The models estimate global biogeographic patterns and seasonal variability of cell abundance, with maxima in the warm oligotrophic gyres of the Indian and the western Pacific Oceans and minima at higher latitudes. The annual mean global abundances of Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus are 2.9 ± 0.1 × 10(27) and 7.0 ± 0.3 × 10(26) cells, respectively. Using projections of sea surface temperature as a result of increased concentration of greenhouse gases at the end of the 21st century, our niche models projected increases in cell numbers of 29% and 14% for Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus, respectively. The changes are geographically uneven but include an increase in area. Thus, our global niche models suggest that oceanic microbial communities will experience complex changes as a result of projected future climate conditions. Because of the high abundances and contributions to primary production of Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus, these changes may have large impacts on ocean ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Frontiers in Marine Science
                Front. Mar. Sci.
                Frontiers Media SA
                2296-7745
                December 11 2017
                December 11 2017
                : 4
                Article
                10.3389/fmars.2017.00397
                © 2017

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