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Posts Tagged "algae"

The Artful Amoeba

An Illustration of the Many Ways to Be Multicellular on Planet Earth

dictyostelium_aggregating_pd_200

How many ways are there to be multicellular on Earth? You know, organisms made of more than one cell? Let’s see . . . plants, animals, and fungi. Three, right? Wrong. I give you “Representative Diverse Origins of Multicellularity …”, aka, Fig. 1 from the paper “The Evolutionary-Developmental Origins of Multicellularity” in the January issue [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Mosses Make Two Different Plants From the Same Genome, and a Single Gene Can Make the Difference

Mosses_on_a_tombstone_wiki_cc_ ndrwfgg_200

One of the most astonishing secrets in biology is this: every plant you see makes two different plants from the same genome. And, scientists recently reported, a single gene from an ancient, powerful lineage can make the difference. How can such a truth be so little known? In most land plants, including conifers and flowering [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Toxic Red Tides Can Attack By Air, Too

Karenia_brevis_wiki_pd_200

Last week as I sat in a beach-side open-air restaurant in southwest Florida, I started coughing. Hard. I couldn’t stop, and I apologized repeatedly. Yet I hadn’t felt sick before, and the suddenness of the coughing was very weird. Our waitress came by as I was expressing my bewilderment. She said, “Oh, it’s the red [...]

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Brainwaves

Leafy Green ‘Solar-Powered’ Sea Slugs Begin to Reveal Their True Colors

sea-slug

Nature is full of thieves. Instead of laboriously collecting pollen and nectar from flowers, robber bees raid the hives of other pollinators and steal the honey within. Some ant species routinely kidnap and enslave members of neighboring colonies, taking tens of thousands of pupae in a single season. And massive-winged frigate birds—also called pirate birds—swoop [...]

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Expeditions

ICESCAPE analyzes chlorophyll in algae: “The most important measurements of the whole cruise”

try of tiny plastic test tubes full of seawater samples

Editor’s Note: Haley Smith Kingsland is an Earth systems master’s student at Stanford University specializing in science communication. For five weeks she’s in the land of no sunsets participating in ICESCAPE, a NASA-sponsored research cruise to investigate the effects of climate change on the Chukchi and Bering seas. This is her third blog post for [...]

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Expeditions

Welcome to Atlantis and the quest for nitrogen

Editor’s Note: Journalist and crew member Kathryn Eident and scientist Jeremy Jacquot are traveling on board the RV Atlantis on a monthlong voyage to sample and study nitrogen fixation in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, among other research projects. This is the first blog post detailing this ongoing voyage of discovery for Scientific American.com. 20 [...]

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Expeditions

Will the algae still bloom?

Editor’s Note: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution oceanographer and photographer Chris Linder and science writer Helen Fields are taking part in a six-week cruise of the Bering Sea, a scientific expedition to study the effects of climate change on this polar ecosystem. This is the fourth blog post. To see all their posts, see "60 Seconds [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Algal Neurotoxins Found in Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals

Hawaiian monk seal

More than 30 years after 50 critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals (Monachus schauinslandi) died of suspected algal toxic poisoning, the presence of ciguatoxins in living seals has finally been confirmed through a new, noninvasive test. Ciguatoxins are produced by dinoflagellates, which live near coral and seaweed. The dinoflagellates are eaten by small fish, which are [...]

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Guest Blog

Power from pondscum: Algal biofuels

In the discussion of alternative energy and fuels, algae have been bubbling to the top of the proverbial feedstock pool. Algae, the little green guys responsible for everything from making your Dairy Queen Blizzard solid to forming the basis of our current fossil fuels, are being looked at long and hard by some of the [...]

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Lab Rat

Plastic from bacteria – now in algae!

Phaeodactylum tricornutum - the algae used in this experiment. Image from wikimedia commons credit below.

Bacteria are capable of producing a wide range of exciting and important materials, and one of the most unusual is probably bacterial plastics. Used by the bacteria as an energy store, these bioplastics are of particular interest as not only could they be a non-oil-based form of plastic but they are also biodegradable. At the moment, they [...]

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Observations

Co-location could make algae biofuels affordable

SAN DIEGO—Researchers are continuing to develop strains of algae that yield a greater volume of oily compounds that can be processed into biofuels. But as more new and established companies examine how to scale up lab processes to commercial levels, scientists and engineers seem to be finding that standalone operations may not be economically viable. [...]

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Observations

T-minus 18 months and counting: Virgin Galactic and the future of space tourism

Twenty-five years ago when Sir Richard Branson (sans the "sir," at the time) called up Boeing and asked for a spare 747, few would have predicted the brash entrepreneur would so radically disrupt the formerly staid business of air travel. Perhaps folks had higher hopes for the former record executives’ feature film production debut at [...]

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The Ocelloid

A Fork in the Red, 2013 (Medium: algae on glass)

A fork in the red

Isn’t it great when your art subjects cooperate and model themselves? Algae are inherently photogenic — especially if they look like fuzz or goo to the naked eye! While many macroalgae (this big seaweeds you find on the beach) require considerable skill and equipment to show off at their best, filamentous algae are usually thin [...]

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Symbiartic

The Three Little Pigs Never Thought of This Building Material

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Bricks, sticks, and hay are decidedly pedestrian building materials in comparison to a new building that just opened to the public last Thursday in Hamburg, Germany. Ambitious architects have built an apartment covered in a thin layer of living, breathing algae. The building, known as BIQ (for Bio Intelligent Quotient), meets the extremely stringent passive-house [...]

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