Algae comprise a diverse group of typically autotrophic organisms, ranging from unicellular to multicellular forms. The largest and most complex marine forms are generally...
AlgaeLast Updated on 2013-07-11 19:54:38
Algae comprise a diverse group of typically autotrophic organisms, ranging from unicellular to multicellular forms. The largest and most complex marine forms are generally termed seaweeds. Algae convert solar energy to biomass using photosynthesis, like plants, although they lack the many distinct organs found in mostterrestrial vegetation.
Algae lack most of the structures that are associated with terrestrial flora, such as phyllids (leaves) and rhizoids in non-vascular plants; furthermore, they are without leaves, roots, and certain other organs that are found in vascular plants. Many are autotrophic although some groups contain species that are mixotrophic, deriving energy both from photosynthesis and uptake of organic carbon either by osmotrophy, myzotrophy, or phagotrophy. Some unicellular taxa rely solely on external energy sources and have limited or no photosynthetic... More »
Tropical coral reefs and environmental stressLast Updated on 2012-09-01 00:00:00
Corals that host fewer species of algae appear less sensitive to disturbances. The following article is part ten in a series on the National Science Foundation's Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network. Visit parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight and nine in this series.
Tropical Reefs' Surviving Environmental Stresses:
Corals' Choice of Symbiotic Algae May Hold the Key
Symbiodinium, it's technically called, but more popularly it's known as zooxanthellae. Either way, these microscopic algae that live within a coral's tissues hold the key to a tropical reef's ability to withstand environmental stresses.
The effects on tropical corals of global warming, ocean acidification, pollution, coastal development and overfishing may all come down to how choosy the corals are about their algae tenants.
Reef corals are the sum of... More »
Ocean acidification troublesLast Updated on 2012-08-09 00:00:00
The seas in which corals and other calcifying species dwell are turning acidic, their pH slowly dropping as Earth's oceans acidify in response to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Trouble in Paradise:
Ocean Acidification This Way Comes
Sustainability of tropical corals in question, but some species developing survival mechanisms
The following Discovery article is part two in a series on the National Science Foundation's Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability (SEES) investment. Visit parts one, three, four, five, six and seven in this series.
The following is part five in a series on the National Science Foundation's Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network. Visit parts one, two, three, four, six, seven, eight and nine in this series.
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
—Shakespeare,... More »
Algae Might Replace Some U.S. Oil ImportsLast Updated on 2011-04-13 00:00:00?Main Image: A June 2010 photo shows raceway ponds in Southern California was taken by the QuickBird satellite. A PNNL study shows that 17 percent of the United States’ imported oil for transportation could be replaced by biofuel made from algae grown in outdoor raceway ponds located in the Gulf Coast, the Southeastern Seaboard and the Great Lakes. Credit: PNNL.
Study: Algae could replace
17% of U.S. oil imports
Choosing optimal growing locations limits algal biofuel’s water use
High oil prices and environmental and economic security concerns have triggered interest in using algae-derived oils as an alternative to fossil fuels. But growing algae — or any other biofuel source — can require a lot of water.
However, a new study shows that being smart about where we grow algae can drastically reduce how much water is needed for algal biofuel. Growing... More »
Red tideLast Updated on 2010-12-04 00:00:00
A "red tide" is a common term used for a harmful algal bloom.
Harmful algal blooms, or HABs, occur when colonies of algae — simple ocean plants that live in the sea — grow out of control while producing toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals and birds. The human illnesses caused by HABs, though rare, can be debilitating or even fatal.
While many people call these blooms 'red tides,' scientists prefer the term harmful algal bloom. One of the best known HABs in the nation occurs nearly every summer along Florida’s Gulf Coast. This bloom, like many HABs, is caused by microscopic algae that produce toxins that kill fish and make shellfish dangerous to eat. The toxins may also make the surrounding air difficult to breathe. As the name suggests, the bloom of algae often turns the water red.
HABs... More »
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