28 November 2019

Understanding how earthquakes occur is one of the main open questions in the field of seismology. Decades of research have not been enough to establish a model to predict earthquake’s behaviour neither to explain the systematic variation of the properties of their seismic rupture observed according to the depth where they initiate. This situation has often led to underestimate their capacity to generate tsunamis, making it difficult to develop early warning systems in areas affected by large and great earthquakes.

A study carried out by Valentí Sallarès, a CSIC researcher, and César R. Ranero, ICREA researcher, both at the Institute of Marine Sciences of Barcelona of the CSIC, which stands for Spanish National Council for Scientific Research, ​​proposes a paradigm shift and presents a new conceptual...

2 September 2019

An international team led by the Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC, Barcelona) demonstrate the growth of a young fault in the Alboran Sea, called the Al-Idrissi Fault System, source of the magnitude (Mw) 6.4 earthquake, which affected Al-Hoceima, Melilla and the south of the Iberian Peninsula in January 2016. The study, published in Nature Communications, shows the generation and growth of an active fault system.

Geologically, the Alboran Sea is a young basin located between the Eurasia and the African tectonic plates. At the boundary between both plates is located the Al-Idrissi Fault System (AIFS), across the seafloor of the Alboran Sea. It represents the longest active tectonic structure in the region. The fault is about 100 km long and 1 to 4.8 km wide, accommodating a total slip rate of 3.8 mm/yr....

27 August 2019

A study with researchers from CEAB and ICM, both centres of CSIC, reveals that marine sponges, the oldest group of animals on the planet, contribute significantly to one of the fundamental biogeochemical cycles of the ocean: the silicon cycle. Until now, it was believed that the main sinks of silicon occurred through the burial of diatoms, but according to the new results, published in Nature Geosciences, skeletons of marine sponges are also important sinks of silicon in the global ocean.

Silicon is one of the most abundant chemical elements in the universe and, after oxygen, the second one on Earth. In the ocean, it is part of sediments, minerals and rocks and, more importantly, it occurs dissolved in the seawater. “This dissolved silicon plays a key role in the ecological functioning of the ocean. Among other...

13 August 2019

The Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC) leads a study, published in Global Change Biology, which proposes a conceptual framework and classification for ocean acidification refugia (OAR) for the first time. OARs are specific locations where ocean acidification impacts could be less intense, protecting biodiversity.

OARs can be spatial, where a physical barrier minimizes exposure to low pH seawater; or adaptive, where conditions stimulate genetic adaptation. In the first case, the species are protected against the extreme conditions of acidification, such as in deep-sea mountains or points of high primary production. In the second, organisms are exposed to low pH seawater intermittently, as occurs, for example, in areas with frequent deep seawater upwelling, where species can develop adaptation mechanisms.

Dr. Lydia...

8 August 2019

Marine bacteria that capture light and transform it into biochemical energy are not a rarity, as previously thought. A work published this week in the journal Science Advances, with the participation of the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC), shows that sunlight, the main source of energy sustaining marine ecosystems, is mainly captured by bacteria, and not by algae and cyanobacteria (also called blue-green algae), as previously thought.

The work is led by Laura Gómez Consarnau, who was a Marie Curie researcher at the ICM-CSIC when she did the work and currently works at the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education in Ensenada (Mexico) and at the University of Southern California (USA).

Heterotrophic bacteria normally feed by degrading organic matter. But in the sea and other aquatic systems, some...