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Mermaid’s Wine glasses - Acetabularia acetabulum 

These structures with aspect of satellite dishes are in fact green algae scientifically named Acetabularia acetabulum (Dasycladales - Polyphysaceae), and incredibly, each is a gigantic, single-celled organism

In general, single-celled organisms are very small, but Acetabularia acetabulum can grow to 10 cm. This implies that it is a giant green alga, and because of these characteristics and some other remarkable particularities, is considered as a model organism that is widely used in genetic and molecular studies.

These algae, which are found in subtropical seas, consist of a slender stalk that is usually attached to a rock surface by a rhizoid and which ends in a lobate umbrella-like cap. A large nucleus (50 − 120 μm in diameter) is located at the rhizoid. This nucleus divides repeatedly as the alga matures and the daughter nuclei are carried upward by cytoplasmic streaming to end up in each of the lobes of the cap.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credits: [Top: ©Antoni López-Arenas | Locality: Cala del Torrent del Pi, l'Ametlla de Mar, Catalonia, 2009] - [Bottom: ©Philipp Kanstinger | Locality: Mediterranean Sea, Greece, 2006]

World’s First Urban Algae Canopy Produces the Oxygen Equivalent of Four Hectares of Woodland Every Day

The Urban Algae Canopy by ecoLogic Studio is a piece of bio-digital architecture that combines micro-algal cultures and real time digital cultivation protocols. To be displayed at Expo Milano 2015, the structure is able to control the flow of energy, water and carbon dioxide based on weather patterns, visitor’s movements, and other environmental variables. It’s the first of its kind in the world, and once fully completed, the canopy will be able to produce the oxygen equivalent of four hectares of woodland, along with nearly 330 pounds of biomass per day.

Magnificent blue glow of Hong Kong seas also disturbing

This Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 photo made with a long exposure shows the glow from a Noctiluca scintillans algal bloom along the seashore in Hong Kong. The luminescence, also called Sea Sparkle, is triggered by farm pollution that can be devastating to marine life and local fisheries, according to University of Georgia oceanographer Samantha Joye. Noctiluca itself does not produce neurotoxins like other similar organisms do. But its role as both prey and predator tends can eventually magnify the accumulation of toxins in the food chain, according to R. Eugene Turner at Louisiana State University. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-01-magnificent-blue-hong-kong-seas.html#jCp

Hydra hanging out with several Volvox colonies, which it protects from predators in exchange for food in the form of some byproducts of photosynthesis. Although their relationship is mutually beneficially and mostly pleasant, they can never agree on which movie to watch.

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Photo by Stephen Wilbert from Nikon Small World.

Researchers are farming seaweed and turning it into fuel and food

Researchers from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, have started the Seafarm project which involves growing underwater algae farms on ropes. The team collect excess algae from the Baltic Sea, along Sweden’s southern coast, and then cultivate it in the farm. After six months, the algae is harvested and refined, and then produced into eco-friendly food, medicine, plastic and energy. Production is all year round, and during the winter the cultivation is lowered deeper into the sea to avoid ice formation.

The sea is extremely rich in nutrients, which results in an over-production of algae. Some species of algae release a poisonous toxin when they bloom which is harmful to humans and animals in high concentrations. The excess of algae can threaten the ecosystem, and the Swedish team want to see it as a resource rather than a problem.

“What’s more, we’re also acting to help the environment. Partly, when we make use of the excess algae which otherwise contribute to the excess fertilisation of water bodies and partly when we cultivate algae that actually absorb nitrogen and phosphorus from the sea,” said Fredrik Gröndahl, head of the project, in a press release.

The sea has a huge production capacity, yet humans only use one percent of the seas’ ecosystem for generation of resources. Algae has a very high nutritional value and contains many vitamins, amino acids, and minerals. It has become increasingly popular as a food source, and it can even be used to produce sugar, spices, oil, and animal feed. 

“We really need new solutions, such as harvesting the excess algae for fuel and cultivating new, pure algae for special products and foodstuffs,”said Gröndahl.

The team believe that the coasts of Sweden are ideal for algae cultivation, and they have set up one farm so far. They expect that it will take some time for people to get on board with the project, but hope it will contribute to sustainable development while helping the marine environment.

“It will be an energy forest at sea. We plan to build large farms on 2 hectares right from the start, since the interest in the activities will grow rapidly when more farmers and entrepreneurs wake up to the opportunities and come into the picture,” said Gröndahl. “In 15 years time, we will have many large algae cultivations along our coasts; and Seafarm will have contributed to the creation of a new industry from which people can make a living.”

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Science + Art = Awesome!

Today the Department of Microscopic Marvels explores the exquisitely beautiful art of arranging Diatoms, tiny unicellular algae encased in jewel-like glass shells, into complex kaleidoscopic displays, some of which date back to the Victorian era. They’re works of art that are invisible to the naked eye and must be viewed under a microscope.

Ranging in size from 2 to 200 micrometers, diatoms are among the smallest organisms on the planet. They’re a form of phytoplankton and scientists estimate that there are roughly 100,000 existent species. To create the lovely and astonishingly tiny displays pictured above, diatoms must be found, captured, cleaned, organized and then finally positioned into aesthetically pleasing arrangements in microscope slides.

So how is all of this accomplished? English filmmaker Matthew Killip contacted Diatom specialist and master micromanipulator Klaus Kemp in order to find out. Kemp has dedicated his life to studying and perfecting this microscopic Victorian art form and Killip sat down with him to learn about the process of creating diatom arrangements. The result was a short film entitled The Diatomist.

Click here to watch and learn.

[via Colossal]

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The future of furniture might also be the future of food. Or is that the other way around? Designers are increasingly turning to microalgae, which is effectively a “liquid plant,” because it can be suspended in fluid and utilized as a design material as well as harnessed for its food production qualities. The Living Things installation is one such project, a partnership between architectural designer Jacob Douenias and industrial designer Ethan Frier, for the express purpose of creating furniture that, well, creates. In this case, the result is photosynthetic furniture filled with tiny, edible bacteria that also function as luminous light sources.

read more at http://inhabitat.com/living-things-furniture-puts-spirulina-to-work-for-light-heat-and-a-protein-packed-snack/