In this study, the authors investigate the effects of different algal growth media on algae's ability to perform carbon dioxide biofixation, or utilize carbon dioxide by fixing it into fatty acids within the cells. More specifically, carbon dioxide biofixation of Chlorella vulgaris was cultured in one of four media options and carbon dioxide was measured and compared to controls. The study results demonstrated that the use of media can enhance algae's capacity for biofixation and this has important implications for developing methods to reduce carbon dioxide in the environment.
Environmental disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill can be devastating to ecosystems for long periods of time. Safer, cheaper, and more effective methods of oil clean-up are needed to clean up oil spills in the future. Here, the authors investigate the ability of natural ocean algae to process crude oil into less toxic chemicals. They identify Coccochloris elabens as a particularly promising algae for future bioremediation efforts.
In this article, Harvell and Nicholson hypothesized that increased ocean acidity would decrease the photosynthetic ability of Chaetoceros gracilis, a diatom prolific in Monterey Bay, because of the usually corrosive effects of carbonic acid on both seashells and cells’ internal structures. They altered pH of algae environments and measured the photosynthetic ability of diatoms over four days by spectrophotometer. Overall, their findings indicate that C. gracilis may become more abundant in Monterey Bay as the pH of the ocean continues to drop, potentially contributing to harmful algal blooms.
Here, the authors sought to use Cladophora macroalgae as a possible antibiotic to address the growing threat of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria. However, when they observed algae extracts to be greatly contaminated with gram-negative bacteria, they adapted to explore the ability to use ultraviolet light as a bactericide. They found that treatment with ultraviolet light had a significant effect.
Algal overgrowth often threatens to clog irrigation pipes and drinking water lines when left unchecked, as well as releasing possible toxins that threaten plant and human health. It is thus important to find natural, non-harmful agents that can decrease algal growth without threatening the health of plants and humans. In this paper, the authors test the efficacy of barely extract in either liquid or pellet form in decreasing algal growth. While their results were inconclusive, the experimental set-up allows them to investigate a wider range of agents as anti-algal treatments that could potentially be adopted on a wider scale.
Coral bleaching is a fatal process that reduces coral diversity, leads to habitat loss for marine organisms, and is a symptom of climate change. This process occurs when corals expel their symbiotic dinoflagellates, algae that photosynthesize within coral tissue providing corals with glucose. Restoration efforts have attempted to repair damaged reefs; however, there are over 360,000 square miles of coral reefs worldwide, making it challenging to target conservation efforts. Thus, predicting the likelihood of bleaching in a certain region would make it easier to allocate resources for conservation efforts. We developed a machine learning model to predict global locations at risk for coral bleaching. Data obtained from the Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office consisted of various coral bleaching events and the parameters under which the bleaching occurred. Sea surface temperature, sea surface temperature anomalies, longitude, latitude, and coral depth below the surface were the features found to be most correlated to coral bleaching. Thirty-nine machine learning models were tested to determine which one most accurately used the parameters of interest to predict the percentage of corals that would be bleached. A random forest regressor model with an R-squared value of 0.25 and a root mean squared error value of 7.91 was determined to be the best model for predicting coral bleaching. In the end, the random model had a 96% accuracy in predicting the percentage of corals that would be bleached. This prediction system can make it easier for researchers and conservationists to identify coral bleaching hotspots and properly allocate resources to prevent or mitigate bleaching events.
Chlorella sp. are unicellular green algae that use photosynthesis to reduce carbon dioxide into glucose. In this study, authors sought to determine the temperature that Chlorella sp. is maximally efficient at photosynthesis, and therefore removing the most carbon dioxide from the system. This activity could be harnessed to naturally remove carbon dioxide from the environment, fighting the effects of climate change.
In order for cells to successfully multiply, a number of proteins are needed to correctly coordinate the replication and division process. In this study, students use fluorescence microscopy and molecular methods to study CCDC11, a protein critical in the formation of cilia. Interestingly, they uncover a new role for CCDC11, critical in the cell division across multiple human cell lines.