Monday, December 28, 2009

Nanotechnology is the discipline of convergence

Nanotechnology is the discipline of convergence
Interview with Prof T Pradeep. IIT Madras.

December 29, 2009, will mark the golden jubilee of nanotechnology, informs Mr T. Pradeep, Professor, DST unit on Nanoscience, Department of Chemistry and Sophisticated Analytical Instrument Facility, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai.

The celebrated talk of Richard P. Feynman, ‘There's plenty of room at the bottom' delivered 50 years ago (on December 29, 1959, at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society at the California Institute of Technology) envisaged the era of nanotechnology – the technology of nanometre scale objects, Mr Pradeep tells Business Line.

It is a Sunday afternoon, and we are sitting in the lawn adorned by the campus inaugural plaque, again dating back to 1959. A banyan serves as the backdrop, the deer freely roam about, assorted birds chirp around, and our conversation continues over the email…

Excerpts from the brief interview.

What were Feynman's predictions?

He talked about the possibility of a new kind of technology, by assembling things atom by atom. Such a technology would make everything – all that technology has done till now – small.

Feynman suggested that the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica could be written on the tip of a needle. He talked about small objects moving around the body through blood vessels which would do surgeries. When things are shrunk at atomic levels, many new possibilities come about, as reflected in the emphasis on the word, ‘plenty'.

Where are we now?

We have been assembling atoms the way we need, and creating nanometre scale structures, since 1991. Through a technique discovered in 1981, called the scanning electron microscopy and its modifications, this atom manipulation is routine today.

Despite this capability, molecules by themselves are not made today by arranging atoms. This is because the methods of chemistry to assemble atoms to create molecular structures are much more powerful in creating designed structures, especially in large scale.

Tiny diagnostic and therapeutic objects can get into the body. These are not ‘surgeons', however, as of now. Electronic storage is possible in pieces of matter of nanometre length as well as in molecules. Information contained in libraries can be stored in hand-held devices. Simple machines of hundreds of nanometre in length have been made.

Where are we going?

Nanotechnology is the power to manipulate matter at the atomic level. This power is that of the creator as He assembles biological matter atom-by-atom to create structures. This implies that all that matter can do will be achievable with that capability. Our technologies are far away from that right now.

Currently, nanomaterials can be used for increasing performance of already established technologies. For example, a structure can be made tougher by incorporating desired nanostructured matter. In the long term, new capabilities can be obtained with additional efforts. Completely futuristic possibilities such as linking biological objects with machines are being investigated.

However, atom manipulations are going on in Nature everyday. The food we eat is cooked in plants, atom by atom, using carbon dioxide, water and sunlight. Plants fix energy in this fashion and we consume that. Automobiles use that energy.

How about fixing sunlight in a reaction vessel? Look at Nature filtering and storing water in watermelons. This happens through a series of molecular processes. How about adapting that to solve our water crisis?

In Nature, all these happen in a clean and green manner, so that life is sustainable. This shows that biology is nanotechnology in perfection. The best chemistry is also that. Physics ultimately is processes at the nanometre scale.

This shows that nanotechnology is the discipline of convergence. Current problems of the world demand that convergence.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Algae biomass

A report of the Wind Sea Algae Workshop held in April 2009 at Lolland,
Denmark is available at .

Wind Sea Algae is working on the OMEGA project - Offshore Membrane
Enclosures for Growing Algae (OMEGA).

"To put algae in a global perspective, the algae consists of less than
1% even less than 0.5% of global biomass, however this tiny biomass
generates about 40% of our oxygen and removes about 40% of the total
carbon dioxide. The small amount of algae in the oceans are doing a
great job." Pg 33.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Silica Depletion and Lake Regulation

Mr. Roger Wheeler's blog Friends of Sebago Lake has a few interesting comments about role of dams, silica and diatoms on water quality and red tides.

Very few people are making this connection that decline in silica in water reduces diatom population and this causes a bloom of Cyanobacteria and Dinoflagellates.

Silica Depletion and Lake Regulation
Everything in Nature is Connected

It turns out that one key factor associated with harmful algal blooms is dissolved silica; intense red tides tend to occur in coastal waters where dissolved silica is low. We are all familiar with nitrogen and phosphorus as nutrients fueling algae growth, but silica is also an essential nutrient for one of the most abundant algae called diatoms. Without adequate dissolved silica, diatoms can't grow and reproduce. Much of the dissolved silica found in our State's coastal waters can be traced back to weathering processes of Maine rocks and soils. Silica, along with other minerals, slowly dissolves and is then carried from the watersheds by rivers to the ocean. With the continuous input of silica from rivers, along with other nutrients, diatoms grow in sufficient numbers and serve to suppress harmful algae that cause “red tides”. Healthy diatom populations in the Gulf of Maine also supply the nutrient foundation for one of the historically richest fisheries in the world.
I suggest that our current management strategies of Maine dam hydrology may be an unwitting, but important factor, contributing to silica depletion, increased harmful algal blooms and the present coastal ecosystem decline.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Farmers say Chesapeake Bay rules will bankrupt some farms

Farmers and Water pollution experts are losing track of a basic issue.

N and P are used as fertilizers in agriculture, even aquaculturists use small quantity to cause algae blooms in fish ponds.

So why should N and P be regarded as pollutants.

All thats needed is to use then productively even in water, even on a large scale.
This is possible using Nualgi and Diatom Algae.
Ponds in each farm can be used to grow fish.


Farmers say Chesapeake Bay rules will bankrupt some farms

The Virginian-Pilot © December 14, 2009

Farmers nationwide are gearing up for a battle against the federal government over plans to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.

It's not that farmers are against a bay cleanup, said Greg Hicks, communications director for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.

But he says the new directives could put small dairy farmers and cattle producers out of business because of the expense of the regulations.

"They want to mandate what has been voluntary in the past," Hicks said. "If it's passed, commodity experts are saying there will cease to be Virginia milk. All of our small dairy farmers will be out of business within two years."

Hicks said small cattle producers with herds of less than 200 would suffer, and that even grain producers in the Hampton Roads region would be affected by the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Act of 2009. House and Senate versions of the measure were introduced in October and are currently in committee.

Under the proposal, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency essentially would take over many of the environmental regulations dealing with the Bay that previously have been handled by state regulators. Also, under President Barack Obama, the EPA is preparing a new Bay cleanup plan that should be ready late next year.

"We've had a good working relationship with Bay people in the state," Hicks said. "Farmers have already spent a lot of their own money on this problem, and they've gotten no credit for it."

The problem mostly has to do with the nutrient buildup in the Bay, considered hazardous to fish, shell fish and water plants.

The measure is a reauthorization of the Chesapeake Bay Program, according to Farm Bureau officials. But it would take policing of the Bay out of the hands of state officials and put it in the hands of federal officials. The extent of the regulations the EPA would be implementing is still questionable, Hicks said. The American Farm Bureau will also be battling against the measure, Hicks said.

Ann Jennings, Virginia executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said that the Virginia Farm Bureau and farmers in general are confused about the new legislation. "We're desperately trying to work with the farmers," Jennings said. "We want to help improve the water quality. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation can guide farmers to funding resources."

Wilmer Stoneman, associate director of governmental relations for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, said: "The Chesapeake Bay's current condition is from 400 years of contact from humans. We can't overcome that in 30 years or 15 years or even two years. It's going to take time and effort from everyone."

Donna Kerr, a third-generation Amelia County dairy farmer, said she already has voluntarily implemented conservation practices on her 200-head dairy farm. She has planted riparian buffers and cover crops to protect water quality and prevent soil erosion. She also has fenced her cows out of the streams on her land.

Hicks said that Kerr's actions are likely good examples of what the new regulations will require, but it could also mean daily monitoring of nutrients being released into the Bay from things such as fertilizer and manure piles.

Stoneman said farmers are accused of being one of the largest contributors of nutrients in the Bay and are being unfairly blamed.

A ccording to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and the Virginia office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, state farmers used 269,000 fewer tons of fertilizer in the years since the Bay cleanup efforts started in 1987. The cost of fertilizer has risen steadily in the last few years.

Jennings, with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said that everyone, including developers, municipalities and home owners, needs to work together to reduce the nutrient footprint.

Proponents of the regulatory move say farmers could make money with the new way of regulating Bay pollution in the "nutrient trading" element of the package. The system works similar to wetlands banks set up to preserve environmentally sensitive land. Farmers not using as much of the allowed nutrient allocation could "sell" the difference.

"The trading provision of the proposed legislation and the federal Farm Bill are components of federal strategies that will benefit the agricultural community," according to a news release from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. The measure also includes at least $96 million, and possibly substantially more, for technical assistance to farmers, as well as $75 million for 'Stewardship Grants' to fund pollution reduction activities."

Stoneman said there's no real "new" money on the horizon.

T here are so many uncertainties to the new proposals, said Gary Cross, a Southampton County farmer. "I don't think anybody understands it," Cross said.

McClatchy News Service contributed to this report.

Mumbai: man dies in water protest

India, Mumbai: man dies in water protest
December 18, 2009 · 1 Comment

One man died in a violent protest against water shortages held outside the headquarters of Mumbai’s municipal corporation BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) on 3 December 2009. Insufficient rains have forced the BMC to impose steep water cuts until at least July 2010.

About 1,500 activists from the NGO Swabhimaan, led by its president Nitesh Rane, son of Revenue Minister Narayan Rane, raised slogans for clean and adequate water supply and tried to enter the BMC building. They were met by 500 police.

In the scuffle, 43-year-old Viral Dholakia, state co-ordinator of Swabhimaan, fell to the ground. He was taken to the state-run GT Hospital, where doctors said that he complained of chest pain and breathlessness.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Evolution of Plants and Oxygen in Atmosphere

Interesting graphic of evolution of plants and increase in oxygen level in atmosphere.
Prokaryotes (Cyanobacteria,etc.) do not seem to have contributed much to the O2, its only after evolution of Eukaryotes (Green Algae, Diatom Algae, etc.) that the O2 in air started to increase and land plants have contributed the most.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fish Kills in Queensland, Australia

Summer has set in in Queensland, Australia and fish kills too have started to take place.

A few reported so far -

Fish kill in Beachmere, north of Brisbane.

"There is a very high water temperature at a shallow depth of the lake - it's not very well shaded, it's not flushed, [there are] low dissolved oxygen levels in the lake and this is all contributing to this fishkill," he said. "

Beachmere fish kill Update -

Dundowarn Lagoon fish kill north of Brisbane.

Burrum Heads Fish Kill -
The Queensland Government says low oxygen levels in a lake seem to be the cause of another fish kill on the Fraser Coast.

Moneys Creek fish kill near Bundaberg.
"The chairman of the Moneys Creek Rehabilitation group, Mike Rennie, says the fish kill has been caused by an algae bloom."

Fish Kills in USA – 2009.

A list of a few of the Fish Kills in USA in 2009 are given below.
There were many more but I saved the links of only a few.,0,2090997.story - LAKE ELSINORE: Fish kill strikes Lake Elsinore once again


Big Eau Pleine Reservoir -

Black River - - High heat causes fish kill at Baldwin Lake,0,183607.story – Cherry Creek, Denver.

Yadkin River, North Carolina. -

Apollo Beach's Southshore Falls -

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Phosphorus pollution

A very interesting court case over phosphorus pollution.

Poultry defense grills witness: A state expert says there's no practical way to ban all sources of phosphorus.

By Susan Hylton, Tulsa World, Okla.

Dec. 11--A defense attorney caused a state's expert to admit that there's not a practical way to ban all sources of phosphorus coming into and polluting the Illinois River watershed.

Nor is there a provision in place that would allow scientists to pinpoint where all the sources of phosphorus are coming from, said Todd King, an environmental engineer, in testimony Thursday in U.S. District Court.

Thursday ended the 12th week of the state's lawsuit against 11 companies including poultry giant Tyson Foods of Springdale, Ark., it blames for polluting the Illinois River watershed with chicken waste.

The ongoing trial picks up again Monday when the state plans to rest after submitting phosphorus soil test samples taken from 50 chicken growers since 1998.

King was hired by the state to prepare a report on remediation alternatives designed to reduce the amount of phosphorus in impaired waters.

Perhaps the most strongly worded recommendation was to cease the application of poultry waste, which the state blames for the poor water quality of the Illinois River, Lake Tenkiller and surrounding rivers and streams. The three main contaminants in poultry waste the report names are phosphorus, bacteria and nitrogen.

According to his report, "Without cessation, the effectiveness of any reasonable remediation action will be compromised and the primary injuries will continue."

Defense attorneys Scott McDaniel and John Tucker spent the morning picking apart King's report, noting mathematical errors, and questioning how thought-out some of King's phosphorus remediation re- commendations are.

King said his report did not look at what effect the remedies, such as banning chicken litter, which is less expensive for farmers to use, would have on the agricultural economy.

One of the most expensive remedies recommended was treating drinking water to address algae and associated disinfection by-products. King said he didn't use Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality records to determine if the facilities actually need an upgrade.

King said there is no established criteria for U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell to use in determining if any of the pollution remedies will solve the problem. He said the goal would be met when Lake Tenkiller is no longer eutrophic, which means it is oxygen deficient due to excessive nutrients.

King described his report as an "identification and evaluation of remediation alternatives in the Illinois River watershed."

Susan Hylton 581-8381


To see more of the Tulsa World, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to

Copyright (c) 2009, Tulsa World, Okla.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Domoic Acid

If phytoplankton capable of making DA are common in open ocean phytoplankton blooms, do they express this gene and make DA? There have been few measurements published related to the expression of the gene for DA in open ocean phytoplankton. Wells and coworkers [Wells et al., 2005] are one of the few groups who have studied Pseudonitzschia in the open ocean. They indicate that DA plays an important role, together with copper, in ensuring that Pseudonitzschia can survive under very low iron conditions in the open ocean. “This system may explain why Pseudonitzschia spp. are persistent seed populations in oceanic HNLC regions, as well as in some neritic regions. Our findings also indicate that in the absence of an adequate copper supply, iron-limited natural Pseudonitzschia populations will become increasingly toxic.” (p. 1998). We know from studies of Pseudonitzschia strains from coastal waters that they are more likely to make DA when iron-stressed than when growing under iron-replete conditions: “Our findings suggest that DA production during exponential growth of these two toxigenic Pseudonitzschia species is directly induced by Fe-deficient or Cu stress conditions and that 95% of this DA is actively released into the medium.” (p.
515) [Maldonado et al., 2002].

Nualgi contains both Iron and Copper

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ocean Fertilization

26-30 October 2009
Report dated - 30 November 2009



0.1 Contracting Parties to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972 (London Convention) and the Contracting Parties to the 1996 Protocol to the London Convention 1972 (London Protocol) met from 26 to 30 October 2009 at IMO Headquarters, London, for their 31st Consultative Meeting and 4th Meeting of Contracting Parties, respectively.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fish kills in Australia

Summer has set in Queensland, Australia and this is resulting in fish kills due to low Dissolved Oxygen.

Burrum Heads, Fraser Coast, Queensland.

Dundowarn Lagoon, north of Brisbane, Queensland.

Beachmere, Queensland.

Biodiesel from Diatoms

"Note that an algal oil slick has now appeared on top of the water, as the oil-laden diatoms begin to leak oils. Oily foams, are now forming in this oil-production photobioreactor.

Note the large oily bubble that has formed at the water line at the lower right corner."

Mr Patrick Ward of Richmond, VA, USA has also obtained some biofuel from Diatoms.
He has been working on this since 2006.

Biodiesel from Diatoms

Academician Jawkai Wang is one of the few people working on biodiesel from Diatoms.
The Chinese website can be translated using Google Translate.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Biofuels: Hope or Hype?

"Biofuels aren’t new. Henry Ford designed his 1908 Model T to run on ethanol from corn, but Standard Oil and its fossil fuel cohorts, seeing the threat biofuels presented to their business, lowered their prices and drove biofuels out of the marketplace."

Now we know why petrol has been so cheap all these years.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Carbon must be sucked from air, says IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri

From The Times
December 1, 2009
Carbon must be sucked from air, says IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri


"Dr Pachauri raised the prospect of so-called geo-engineering, whereby carbon dioxide is actively stripped from the atmosphere. A range of techniques have been proposed including seeding artificial clouds over oceans to reflect sunlight back into space, sowing the oceans with iron ore to boost plankton growth and using carbon capture and storage technology to fix emissions from power stations."


Nualgi is a superior form of providing iron and other micro nutrients to Diatom Algae.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Ocean acidification will cost us dearly


Enjoy serving shrimp, oysters or crabs during your holiday meals? Then you should pay heed to the big climate change meeting coming up in Copenhagen. What nations decide there could determine if our ocean will continue providing tasty shellfish - or instead become part of a perilous chemistry experiment that could ravage valuable fisheries and coral reefs.

The problem, strange as it may seem, is that the ocean is doing a wonderful job of slowing down global warming. Every day, it removes nearly 30 million metric tons of carbon dioxide - the main warming gas - from the atmosphere. That's nearly twice what U.S. power plants, cars and factories spew daily into the sky. So we owe the ocean a big thanks for putting a brake on climate change and giving us time to find solutions.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wisconsin environmental groups plan to sue EPA over water regulations

Wisconsin environmental groups plan to sue EPA over water regulations
Published 11/23/2009 - 1:20 p.m. CST

Wisconsin environment groups said they plan to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in an attempt to enforce the federal regulations covering water pollution.

The coalition said the legal action would be aimed at pushing EPA to regulate nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in Wisconsin waters under the Clean Water Act. The groups said EPA pledged to regulate this pollution in 1999, but action was delayed for years.

Nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, common in many Wisconsin lakes and streams, has been shown to contaminate drinking water, contribute to the growth of potentially toxic cyanobacteria or “blue-green algae,” and is the main cause of algal blooms in the Great Lakes and the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, the groups said.

Betsy Lawton, interim executive director of Midwest Environmental Advocates (MEA) and an attorney representing the coalition stated, “Wisconsin DNR has developed the science needed for sound phosphorus standards, and EPA must honor its 1999 pledge to set standards for this harmful pollutant that hampers recreation for Wisconsin residents by contributing to green, stinky water, closed beaches, and toxic algae.”

This year, nutrient-induced blue-green algae in Wisconsin has led to the death of pets, and several cases of rashes, sore throats and eye irritation, the groups maintained. “Businesses located on waters tainted with toxic algae are really hurting,” said Denny Caneff, executive director of the River Alliance of Wisconsin. “They lose customers who flee the stench and the health hazards posed by toxic algae. EPA needs to act to limit the nutrients causing these algae blooms.”

The groups filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue, the first step in a Clean Water Act citizen suit. The groups now must wait 60 days before filing a formal lawsuit. The coalition of groups is being represented by two Midwestern environmental law centers, Midwest Environmental Advocates and the Environmental Law & Policy Center. The full 60 day notice is available here at

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Feeding fish on fish farms
25 Nov 2009

"The acidity of the acid in tilapia’s stomach is the strongest measured in the animal world and breaks down astonishing things such as the cell wall in Diatoms, as they pass through the stomach. The hard shell of the diatom is used as a scrubbing agent. The acid in the stomach of the Tilapia dissolves this “shell.” "

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lipids from Algae - Diatoms

Several fundamental biological aspects of Algal Biofuel Application.

Presentation at International Workshop on Offshore Algae Cultivation for Biofuels and Beyond,

by Qiang Hu, Laboratory for Algae Research and Biotechnology, Arizona State University

"To put algae in a global perspective, the algae consists of less than 1% even less than 0.5% of global biomass, however this tiny biomass generates about 40% of our oxygen and removes about 40% of the total carbon dioxide. The small amount of algae in the oceans are doing a great job.'
Pg 32.

What are the oleaginous algae? Basically, any algae which can produce 20% or higher of tryacylglycerol. This is equivalent to oleaginous plants, which also produce 20% oil. What kind of algae can produce that much lipid? In this figure I show total lipid so if you look at cyanobacteria or blue-green algae they produce zero triacylglycerol because they are missing several genes involved in triacylglycerol biosynthesis or at least one critical gene. Also because cyanobacteria are a prokaryotic system and have no internal membrane system to separate triacylglycerol from the rest of the cell bodies. If you look at the marine algae there are many marine unicellular algae which can produce high amounts of triacylglyceryl—total lipid can go up to 50%. In particular, there are many diatoms, including both freshwater and marine species, which produce high amounts of triacylglycerol, similar to green algae.
Pg 34

From the report of the Wind Sea Algae Workshop held in April 2009 at Lolland, Denmark available at .

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Biodiesel from Diatoms - Lipid content


1. The lipids of freshly collected marine diatoms contain a very high per cent of free fatty acid, apparently irrespective of species.

2. When a suspension of diatoms is allowed to stand for 6 months, the content of free acids falls markedly, and the content of hydrocarbon may rise.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chesapeake Bay Health

Officials: Chesapeake health costly

By Rory Sweeney, The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Nov. 18--ASHLEY -- Fixing the ailing Chesapeake Bay will cost everyone living in its watershed area, but it will also create local benefits, said federal officials who came to the area on Tuesday to outline their massive plan to put the bay on a "diet."

"We probably have enough technologies to do what we need to do. It's just expensive," said Bob Koroncai, the Environmental Protection Agency's manager for the bay's "total maximum daily load" program. "The decisions have not been made on who will shoulder those costs."

Biodiesel from Diatoms

This is a photo of a pond in which a good bloom of Diatoms has been caused by using Nualgi. The oil from the diatoms can be seen floating on the surface.

No other input was used.
Diatoms present naturally in the water were allowed to bloom.

Harvesting of algae and extraction of oil are considered very difficult.
If oil from diatoms exits the diatoms on its own and floats up, then these two problems are solved.

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Study Uncovers Key Role of Bacteria in the Formation of ‘Red Tide’ Algal Blooms

A study confirms the symbiotic relationship between Algae and Aerobic Bacteria.

The researchers found that certain species of bacteria form a mutually-beneficial relationship with the algae that promotes the growth of each. The bacteria release a chemical which helps the algae absorb iron, a critical nutrient for photosynthesis. The algae, in turn, release organic compounds to support the growth of the bacteria.

The study also offers new insight for climate change models, since dimethylsulfide, a gas produced by the bloom-forming algae, plays a critical role in the process of cloud formation and the ability of clouds to reflect sunlight back into space. The degree to which light is reflected in turn influences solar heating of the Earth, affecting global climate.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Freshwater Harmful Algal Bloom

Welcome to

This website supports advancement of the proposed Freshwater Harmful Algal Bloom Research and Control Act (FHAB Act) in the 111th U.S. Congress. An informal coalition of freshwater researchers and managers, and other interested parties, is attempting to provide the public support needed by the U.S. Senate’s Environment & Public Works Committee (Sen. Barbara Boxer, chair) and the U.S. House of Representative’s Science & Technology Committee’s (Rep. Bart Gordon, Chair) Subcommittee on Energy and Environment (Rep. Brian Baird, Chair) for introduction and enactment of the FHAB Act. The coalition is led by Drs. H. Kenneth Hudnell and Wayne Carmichael.

Cyanobacteria (a.k.a. blue-green algae) are the predominant FHAB organisms. Their populations rapidly expand during appropriate conditions of nutrients, warmth, sunlight and quiescent or stagnant water. Dozens of cyanobacteria species produce some of the most potent toxins known. These toxins, cyanotoxins, cause lethal, sub-lethal and chronic effects in humans and other organisms. Cyanotoxins occur in finished drinking water, as well as in recreational waters. Bloom biomasses adversely impact aquatic biota, including massive fish kills caused by hypoxia and/or toxin secretions when the cells die and decay. There is widespread agreement among scientists and water quality managers that the incidence of blooms in freshwater bodies is increasing in the U.S. and worldwide. Every year FHABs occur where they were not observed previously, and FHAB durations increase. Global climate change, rising freshwater usage demand, excessive nutrient inputs to freshwater and poor water management practices are driving much of the increase. The economic costs of FHABs and eutrophication in U.S. freshwaters are conservatively estimated to be $2.2-4.6 billion annually.

The FHAB Act is needed to mandate that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establish a National Freshwater Harmful Algal Blooms Research Plan (FHABRP) so that Federal policy can be developed. The EPA has purview over all U.S. freshwater bodies, but has not made regulatory determinations or established guidelines for FHABs due to the lack of sufficient scientific information on FHAB occurrence, dose-response health effects and control methodology. The Agency has not established the FHABRP because of the lack of a clear Congressional directive. The World Health Organization and a number of other countries have established regulations or guidelines. The FHAB Act is needed if we are to protect human health, aquatic ecosystems and the U.S. economy from the looming crisis posed by FHABs.

The EPA listed Microcystins, Cylindrospermopsin and Anatoxin-a as highest priority cyanotoxins, and Saxitoxin and Anatoxin-a(s) as medium to high priority. Research is needed to assess the frequency and concentrations with which cyanobacteria and these cyanotoxins occur in recreational and finished drinking waters. Health research is needed to obtain cyanotoxin dose-response data for establishing Reference Doses (ingested compounds), Reference Concentrations (inhaled compounds) and cancer assessments. Risk management research is needed to assess the efficacy and sustainability of ecological and chemical approaches to FHAB control. No Federal research funds currently target this research. The FHAB Act and subsequent fund allocations are needed to establish the FHABRP so the research can be accomplished.

Congress was informed of the need for the FHAB Act through testimony given to the Science & Technology Committee by Dr. Hudnell in July 2008. The FHAB Act is modeled after the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act (1998, 2004) that directed the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to establish a research plan for coastal HABs. FHAB Act funds would be administered through the three competitive, research grant programs established by NOAA – ECOHAB, MERHAB & PCM HAB.

This website includes a repository of all Emails sent to coalition members and all letters drafted for submission to Congress. If you would like to join the FHAB legislation coalition, click on the Join Email List button above.

The website is hosted on a SolarBee, Inc. server where additional information on FHABs can be obtained in the Science Office section. For additional information, Email Dr. Hudnell.

Thank you for your support of the FHAB ACT.

Last updated June 1, 2009.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chesapeake Algae Project

ChAP: Biofuel from aquatic algae
by Joseph McClain for Ideation magazine | November 11, 2009

Even if the wild, abundant—yet bony—diatoms aren’t ideal little bags of oil, they do offer some benefits: “They pay you back by growing very rapidly. So a low shell-to-lipid ratio is often made up for by the rate of growth,” Manos said. “If I can grow three grams of something that’s half as efficient in the time it takes you to grow one gram of something that’s perfectly efficient, I still win.”

StatoilHydro has seeded the enterprise with an initial $3 million investment. Other key partners are the Williamsburg energy advisory firm Blackrock Energy, the University of Maryland, the Smithsonian Institution, the University of Arkansas and HydroMentia, a Florida company that works with water-treatment technologies.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bioremediation using Plankton

Glen Hemerick

"Restoring Plankton"

Mr. Hemerick has won local recognition and financial backing for an experiment his is conducting on whether or not local populations of saltwater plankton can be manipulated artificially. His project has also drawn praise for involving local high school science students.

His project involves collecting and cultivating saltwater plankton in a laboratory environment. They are grown and released into Puget Sound, or into streams which flow into lakes, which have a history of toxic, or other undesirable plankton, with the hope that the former may compete with the latter.

Glen Hemerick is an amateur scientist and volunteer with the Clover Park High School Science Club in Tacoma, WA.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


There is a very good Google group on Geoengineering -

Discussions regarding proposals to reverse some of the climate effects of greenhouse gas emissions by means of direct intervention in the climate system (for example, by engineering a reduction in the amount of sunlight absorbed by the Earth).


This "Geoengineering" group ( is designed to meet the needs of citizens who would like to discuss intentional intervention in the climate system. Discussions should touch on intentional modification of climate but may range more broadly.

There is a complementary group called "Climate Intervention" ( that is designed to meet the needs of working professionals in academia, research laboratories, and the policy world.

Ocean Fertilization - Draft report on 12 expeditions

Final Report -

Convention on Biodiversity an UN agency has prepared a draft report about the 12 Ocean Iron Fertilization experiments since 1993.

The key findings are :
Only 5 out to the 12 expeditions resulted in bloom of Diatoms.
None of the experiments resulted in harmful algal blooms.

Our efforts to use Nualgi instead of Hematite ore and Iron Sulphate will continue.

Monday, November 2, 2009

13th World Lake Conference (press release) - Salem,OR,USA

China has more than 24800 natural lakes. However, an average of 20 lakes disappeared every year, and about 88.6 percent of the lakes (2180) are in eutrophic state, ...

Chen, vice chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, made the comment in an address to the 13th World Lake Conference that opened Monday in Wuhan, known as "the city of a hundred lakes".

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Video - Changing Earth: How Dead Zones Form

Video - Changing Earth: How Dead Zones Form


A very useful Video by NASA

Dead Zones Doubling Every Decade

Dead Zones Doubling Every Decade
Submitted by LiveScience Staff
posted: 08 October 2009 03:04 pm ET

Global distribution of the more than 400 marine systems with dead zones caused by increased nutrient runoff. Their distribution matches the current human "footprint" in the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, dead zones have only been reported recently.

Earth's oceans currently have more than 400 dead zones, oxygen-starved areas that are hundreds or thousands of square miles and virtually devoid of life during summer months.

The tally is doubling every decade, according to the National Science Foundation.

Most dead zones, including one in the Gulf of Mexico, are caused by pollution that is dumped into oceans by rivers. It works like this:

Each year, spring runoff washes nitrogen-rich fertilizers from farms in the Mississippi River basin and carries them into the river and the streams that feed it. The nitrogen eventually empties out of the mouth of the Mississippi and into the Gulf of Mexico, where tiny phytoplankton feed off of it and spread into an enormous bloom.

When these creatures die, they sink to the ocean floor, and their decomposition strips the water of oxygen. This condition, called hypoxia, prevents animals that depend on oxygen, such as fish or shrimp, from living in those waters. In recent years, this so-called "dead zone" has grown to the size of New Jersey—about 20,000 square kilometers (7,700 square miles)—each summer.

But there's another emerging culprit, the NSF explains in a new special report. Every summer since 2002, the Pacific Northwest's coastal waters -- one of the U.S.'s most important fisheries -- has seen massive dead zones believed to be caused by an entirely different and surprising phenomena: changes in oceanic and atmospheric circulation that may, in turn, be caused by climate change.

World must cut CO2 to India levels - David King, UK

World must cut CO2 to India levels: top scientist

2008-05-29 by renewenergy

Rich nations need to cut per-capita greenhouse gas emissions to India’s current levels by mid-century to avoid devastating climate change, Britain’s former chief scientific adviser said on Wednesday.

Global carbon dioxide (CO2) levels from burning fossil fuels were already rising quickly and rich nations needed to quickly figure out how to maintain economic growth while committing to deep cuts in emissions, said David King.

“If you (don’t want) run-away climate change, you need to be at about 350 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 … We’re currently at 387 ppm CO2, going up at 2 per annum,” said King, director at Oxford University’s Smith School of Enterprise and Environment.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most common greenhouse gas, and atmospheric levels are sometimes measured as CO2 in parts per million. Collectively, all greenhouse gases can also be expressed as CO2 equivalent (CO2e).

King said that maintaining atmospheric CO2 levels at 450 ppm risked a 20 percent chance of global temperatures rising nearly 4 degrees Celsius.

“If you include all greenhouse gases, we’re at around 420 ppm CO2e,” he said, speaking at a climate change workshop hosted by Thomson Reuters in London.

He said Europe needed to reduce its annual per-capita emissions by 80 percent, or from 11 tons of CO2e, to India’s current level of 2.2 tons per person by 2050.

The United States, emitting an average of 27 tons of CO2e per person every year, also needs to fall to these levels if the world is to avoid a dramatic rise in temperatures, he said.

“I think that encapsulates the challenge, to move from where we are now to where the Indians are today, while growing the global economy at the same time,” said King.


Failure to do so courted environmental disaster, he said, explaining that melting Arctic sea ice heated up the ocean in the far north much faster because ice reflects a large portion of the sun’s radiation, while open ocean absorbs the sun’s heat.

A rise of several degrees Celsius could also mean the Amazon rainforest drying out, turning it into a big source of carbon dioxide emissions rather than a vast sink for the gas as it is now.

The first round of the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol, which seeks to cut greenhouse gas emissions from 37 industrialized nations, expires in 2012 and governments are scrambling to agree a successor agreement by the end of 2009 at a U.N. meeting in Copenhagen.

If governments fail to reach consensus, King thinks another solution to climate change might be so-called geo-engineering, which uses technology to deliberately modify the environment and to promote human habitability.

“We need to remove the carbon dioxide, I suspect not from the atmosphere because it’s too expensive … but possibly from the oceans as they are acidifying,” King said.

Oceans absorb large amounts of CO2 but increasing levels of the gas in the atmosphere is causing oceans to become more acidic, threatening the food chain and marine ecosystems such as coral reefs.

Making geo-engineering profitable for the private sector by establishing a market price for carbon dioxide might promote research and development in the new technology.

“I haven’t worked out what the price of carbon dioxide would have to be to encourage companies to start pumping it out of the oceans, but that is the way we need to move forward.”

Nualgi and Diatom Algae can remove CO2 from the Oceans very easily and economically

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dead Zones contribute to Nitrous Oxide

'Dead-zone' microbe measures ocean health

"Specifically, SUP05 removes toxic sulphides from the water and fixes carbon dioxide, but we also think it's producing nitrous oxide, which is a more potent greenhouse gas than either carbon dioxide or methane," Hallam said.

there are over 400 dead zones in all the oceans of the world.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Nitrogen Cycle: Key Ingredient In Climate Model Refines Global Predictions

To date, climate models ignored the nutrient requirements for new vegetation growth, assuming that all plants on earth had access to as much "plant food" as they needed. But by taking the natural demand for nutrients into account, the authors have shown that the stimulation of plant growth over the coming century may be two to three times smaller than previously predicted. Since less growth implies less CO2 absorbed by vegetation, the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are expected to increase.

However, this reduction in growth is partially offset by another effect on the nitrogen cycle: an increase in the availability of nutrients resulting from an accelerated rate of decomposition – the rotting of dead plants and other organic matter – that occurs with a rise in temperature.

Combining these two effects, the authors discovered that the increased availability of nutrients from more rapid decomposition did not counterbalance the reduced level of plant growth calculated by natural nutrient limitations; therefore less new growth and higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations are expected.

This is precisely the problem that Nualgi and Diatoms can tackle very well, by increasing growth of Diatom Algae in any waterbody.

This will take up the excess nutrients and will also capture CO2 and prevent water pollution due to decomposition of plant matter in water and from harmful algal blooms.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

SOS: Is Climate Change Suffocating Our Seas?

SOS: Is Climate Change Suffocating Our Seas?

Posted on: Saturday, 10 October 2009, 08:36 CDT

Scientists work to explain why massive "dead zones" have been invading the Pacific Northwest's near-shore waters since 2002

Yet another ecological scourge may earn a place on the ever-lengthening list of problems potentially caused by climate change: the formation of some so-called "dead zones"—huge expanses of ocean that lose virtually all of their marine life at depth during the summer.

Possible connections between climate change and the relatively recent formation of dead zones in the Pacific Northwest's coastal waters are currently being studied by a research team that is funded by the National Science Foundation and co-led by Jack Barth of Oregon State University (OSU) and Francis Chan of OSU. (Jane Lubchenco, who is currently on leave from OSU while serving as the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, also previously co-led the team.)


The Earth currently has more than 400 oceanic dead zones, with the count doubling every decade. A single dead zone may cover tens of thousands of square miles.

Dead zones form where microscopic plants, known as phytoplankton, are fertilized by excess nutrients, such as fertilizers and sewage, that are generated by human activities and dumped into the ocean by rivers, or more rarely, where they are fertilized by naturally occurring nutrients. The result: blooms of organic matter that ultimately decompose through processes that rob the ocean of life-sustaining oxygen. Animals that fail to flee dead zones either suffocate or suffer severe stress.

The reference to Phytoplankton is not entirely correct - Cyanobacteria and Dinoflagalletes may lead to fall in DO level, but Diatom Algae leads to increase in DO level. They do not die and decompose, they are consumed by zooplankton or fall to the ocean floor.

This distinction is not being made by most people.
The solution is to get the right type of Phytoplankton to bloom - Diatom Algae.

Neuse River fish kill update

Neuse River fish kill grows worse

Oilgae Blog article about Nualgi

Nualgi – Algae Nutrient that Cleans Sewage & Grows Fish
Posted on Friday, October 09, 2009 posted by Ecacofonix @ 5:38 AM

The Oilgae Team had an excellent opportunity a couple of weeks back when we visited Bangalore and the Nualgi team that has done awesome work in the field of sewage pond treatment using algae.

The idea sounds simple once you heard it; in fact you would be led to wonder why no one thought of it earlier.


Read the full post at -

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pacific Ocean 'dead zone' in Northwest may be irreversible,0,4615320.story

Pacific Ocean 'dead zone' in Northwest may be irreversible
Oxygen depletion that is killing sea life off Oregon and Washington is probably caused by evolving wind conditions from climate change, rather than pollution, one oceanographer warns.

By Kim Murphy
October 9, 2009

Reporting from Corvallis, Ore. - An oxygen-depleted "dead zone" the size of New Jersey is starving sea life off the coast of Oregon and Washington and will probably appear there each summer as a result of climate change, an Oregon State University researcher said Thursday.

The huge area is one of 400 dead zones around the world, most of them caused by fertilizer and sewage dumped into the oceans in river runoff.

But the dead zone off the Northwest is one of the few in the world -- and possibly the only one in North America -- that could be impossible to reverse. That is because evolving wind conditions likely brought on by a changing climate, rather than pollution, are responsible, said Jack Barth, professor of physical oceanography at OSU.

"I really think we're in a new pattern, a new rhythm, offshore now. And I would expect [the low-oxygen zone] to show up every year now," Barth said at a news conference.

Thursday's briefing coincided with the release of a National Science Foundation multimedia report that said the number of dead zones worldwide was doubling every decade.

In the Pacific Northwest, the report said, the areas of hypoxic, or low-oxygen, water that long have existed far offshore began to appear closer to land in 2002, a phenomenon that may mean they are even deadlier to sea life that exists near the ocean floor.

Low-oxygen zones are created when large blooms of plankton form on the surface of the ocean, then decay and fall to the sea floor, where further decay eats up the oxygen in the water.

"When oxygen gets too low in the ocean, it has a deleterious effect on organisms," Barth said. "They either have to flee the area, or they get stressed or even die off. Those die-off [areas] are dead zones."

The affected waters of the continental shelf in Oregon and Washington for the most part are not inundated with polluted river runoff; the nutrients that feed the plankton blooms here come from natural sources, Barth said. And researchers believe a change in the flushing movement of water along the coastline may be responsible.

The gradual warming of surface waters across the north Pacific, the report funded by the National Science Foundation said, has tended to isolate deep waters far below the surface -- allowing less oxygen penetration.

There also has been a change in wind patterns, encouraging the upwelling of that low-oxygen water and inhibiting the natural flushing action of water.

"What we're seeing is changes in the oxygen content of the water and the winds that drive the ocean and cause that flushing," Barth said, calling it a "double whammy."

Although it is possible that the phenomenon could be related to cyclical ocean currents and temperatures, Barth said that he was more inclined to believe it was a long-term result of climate change. He said that researchers had scanned records going back to the 1950s and had seen nothing similar to what has appeared every year off the Oregon coast since 2002.

The worst year on record was 2006, when the Pacific Northwest zone saw an area of "anoxia," or virtually no oxygen at all.

Obama task force calls for National Ocean Council

Obama task force calls for National Ocean Council

The Obama administration in September released the first glimpse of a plan to strengthen the way the nation manages the oceans, coasts and the Great Lakes.

President Barack Obama's Ocean Policy Task Force-composed of 24 officials from myriad federal agencies- recommended creating a new National Ocean Council with power to coordinate and hold accountable federal agencies in conservation and marine planning efforts.

"Right now (ocean policy) is done on a piecemeal basis, one agency regulating fisheries, one shipping, one water quality, another national security and there's no real mechanized thinking on how sectors interact with each other," said Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a task force member. "For the first time, we as a nation say loudly and clearly that healthy oceans matter."

The president created the task force to coordinate the federal response to pollution from industrial and commercial activities, rising sea levels and ocean acidification, among other problems.

The new National Ocean Council would replace the Committee on Ocean Policy, instituted by President George W. Bush in 2004, which the task force called "moderately effective."

The council would help coastal communities-whether it be a struggling fishing industry in Northern California or a hurricane-damaged area on the Gulf Coast-through better coordination and strategic planning.

The report also recommends that the federal government view all ocean policy with a "ecosystem-based approach," meaning decisions would be made with an emphasis on understanding how all life would be affected in a given area. Officials said this would be a key philosophical shift in the nation's approach.

The report is short on details about how and when these goals would be achieved, but environmental groups applauded the White House's efforts, calling it is an important first step in achieving badly needed reform.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Maldives ministers to hold underwater cabinet meeting

Maldives ministers to hold underwater cabinet meeting

Posted by sukhmeet on 2009-10-08 00:37:29

The Maldives government is to hold a meeting under water to highlight the perceived threat of global warming and rising sea-levels. The president of the Maldives is desperate for the world to know how seriously his government takes the threat of climate change and rising sea levels to the survival of his country.

The country, a collection of atolls and islands in the Indian Ocean, stands less than two metres above sea level, and as climate change causes seas to rise it will probably be the first nation to sink beneath the waves.

Mohamed Nasheed has organised an underwater cabinet meeting and told all his ministers to get in training for the sub-aqua session.

Six metres beneath the surface, 14 ministers will ratify a treaty calling on other countries to cut greenhouse emissions on 17th October.

Since taking office last year, President Mohammed Nasheed has emerged as an important international voice on the impact of climate change amid fears that rising ocean levels could swamp this Indian Ocean archipelago within a century.

He has announced plans for a fund to buy a new homeland for his people if the Maldives' 1,192 low-lying coral islands are submerged. He also has promised to make the Maldives, with a population of 350,000, the world's first carbon-neutral nation within a decade.

The leader of a nation made up of 1,200 atolls, 80 per cent of which are no more than a metre above sea level, he has also established a fund to seek an alternative homeland, possibly in Sri Lanka, India or Australia for its 330,000 citizens.

In 2007, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that a rise in sea levels of between 18 and 59 centimetres by 2100 would be enough to make the Maldives virtually uninhabitable.

At the meeting, the Cabinet plans to sign a document calling on all countries to cut carbon emissions ahead of the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Overfishing are there really plenty of fish in the sea

Overfishing: Are there really plenty of fish in the sea?

Decades of overfishing sent many U.S. fisheries into free fall last century. Can a new focus on sustainability save fish and fishermen from going extinct?

By Russell McLendon

Tue, Oct 06 2009 at 11:30 AM EST

"Worldwide fishing catches grew 400 percent between 1950 and 1994, following centuries of increasingly intensive commercial fishing, but it couldn't last forever — big fisheries began crashing by the late 20th century, and global production leveled off in 1988. U.S. catches peaked six years later at 5.2 million tons, more than double the country's 1950 total, and by 2008 they had fallen back down to 4.1 million, despite rising demand."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fish Kill due to Diatom bloom

A rare case of a fish kill due to bloom of Diatoms.

"Scientists have pegged the brown water affecting the Naples coast on a diatom, a silica-based algae, called Guinardia flaccida."

The cause of the Diatom bloom seems to be a spill of fluorosilicic acid -

"Workers at Stolthaven New Orleans LLC dumped almost half a million gallons of a chemical called fluorosilicic acid into the Mississippi River."

Nualgi results in a controlled bloom of Diatoms and hence is very useful and has no side effects.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bioremediation of soil

Bioremediation of soil
Courtesy of Environmental Remediation Equipment Inc. (ERE)


"In addition to nitrogen and phosphorus, a variety of minerals is universally required, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron. Many other elements are required only in trace amounts. These include zinc, copper, cobalt, manganese, and molybdenum. These metals function in enzymes or coenzymes."


Nualgi contains all the trace elements required for Bioremediation.

Sunday, September 20, 2009




Half of the oxygen we breathe comes from microscopic plants living in the ocean.


Human and marine ecosystem health are threatened by a range of challenges, including increased levels of exposure to toxins from harmful algal blooms and other sources, and greater contact with infectious agents. Areas in numerous bays, estuaries, gulfs, and the Great Lakes are now consistently low in or lacking oxygen, creating dead zones along our bays and coasts.


Obstacles and Opportunities
Nonpoint source pollution (pollution that comes from diffuse sources instead of one specific point), caused by poor land management practices, is the leading cause of water quality problems in the United States and a major cause of rapidly declining ocean and coastal ecosystem health. Runoff from suburban streets and lawns, agricultural and industrial uses, transportation activities, and urban development – even hundreds of miles away – negatively impacts water quality, resulting in deleterious effects on ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes systems as evidenced by harmful algal blooms, expansive dead zones, and increased incidents of human illness. Areas with particularly poor water quality are known to experience frequent beach closures, massive fish kills, and areas of toxic sediments. Since this pollution comes from many diffuse sources throughout the country, addressing it requires a strong commitment to coordination and cooperation between multiple sectors and among Federal, State, tribal, local authorities, and regional governance structures. Fortunately, a number of point and non-point source prevention programs are available to State, tribal, local, regional, and private entities to reduce the amount of pollutants that are transported from our Nation’s watersheds and into our coastal waters There are opportunities to achieve significant reductions in these inputs to our coasts and ocean through concrete mechanisms that integrate and coordinate land-based pollution reduction programs.

So you think you know all about water!

So you think you know all about water!

Menlo Park, Calif.—Water is familiar to everyone—it shapes our bodies and our planet. But despite this abundance, the molecular structure of water has remained a mystery, with the substance exhibiting many strange properties that are still poorly understood. Recent work at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and several universities in Sweden and Japan, however, is shedding new light on water’s molecular idiosyncrasies, offering insight into its strange bulk properties.

In all, water exhibits 66 known anomalies, including a strangely varying density, large heat capacity and high surface tension. Contrary to other “normal” liquids, which become denser as they get colder, water reaches its maximum density at about 4 degrees Celsius.

Above and below this temperature, water is less dense; this is why, for example, lakes freeze from the surface down. Water also has an unusually large capacity to store heat, which stabilizes the temperature of the oceans, and a high surface tension, which allows insects to walk on water, droplets to form and trees to transport water to great heights.

“Understanding these anomalies is very important because water is the ultimate basis for our existence: no water, no life,” said SLAC scientist Anders Nilsson, who is leading the experimental efforts. “Our work helps explain these anomalies on the molecular level at temperatures which are relevant to life.”

How the molecules arrange themselves in water’s solid form, ice, was long ago established: the molecules form a tight “tetrahedral” lattice, with each molecule binding to four others. Discovering the molecular arrangement in liquid water, however, is proving to be much more complex. For over 100 years, this structure has been the subject of intense debate. The current textbook model holds that, since ice is made up of tetrahedral structures, liquid water should be similar, but less structured since heat creates disorder and breaks bonds. As ice melts, the story goes, the tetrahedral structures loosen their grip, breaking apart as the temperature rises, but all still striving to remain as tetrahedral as possible, resulting in a smooth distribution around distorted, partially broken tetrahedral structures.

Recently, Nilsson and colleagues directed powerful X-rays generated by the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource at SLAC and the SPring-8 synchrotron facility in Japan at samples of liquid water. These experiments suggested that the textbook model of water at ambient conditions was incorrect and that, unexpectedly, two distinct structures, either very disordered or very tetrahedral, exist no matter the temperature.

In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers revealed the additional discovery that the two types of structure are spatially separated, with the tetrahedral structures existing in “clumps” made of up to about 100 molecules surrounded by disordered regions; the liquid is a fluctuating mix of the two structures at temperatures ranging from ambient to all the way up near the boiling point. As the temperature of water increases, fewer and fewer of these clumps exist; but they are always there to some degree, in clumps of a similar size. The researchers also discovered that the disordered regions themselves become more disordered as the temperature rises.

“One can visualize this as a crowded dance restaurant, with some people sitting at large tables, taking up quite a bit of room—like the tetrahedral component in water—and other people on the dance floor, standing close together and moving slower or faster depending on the mood or ‘temperature’ of the restaurant—like the molecules in the disordered regions can be excited by heat, the dancers can be excited and move faster with the music,” Nilsson said. “There’s an exchange when people sitting decide to get up to dance and other dancers sit down to rest. When the dance floor really gets busy, tables can also be moved out of the way to allow for more dancers, and when things cool back off, more tables can be brought in.”

This more detailed understanding of the molecular structure and dynamics of liquid water at ambient temperatures mirrors theoretical work on “supercooled” water: an unusual state in which water has not turned into ice even though it is far below the freezing point. In this state, theorists postulate, the liquid is made up of a continuously fluctuating mix of tetrahedral and more disordered structures, with the ratio of the two depending on temperature—just as Nilsson and his colleagues have found to be the case with water at the ambient temperatures important for life.

“Previously, hardly anyone thought that such fluctuations leading to distinct local structures existed at ambient temperatures,” Nilsson said. “But that’s precisely what we found.”

This new work explains, in part, the liquid’s strange properties. Water’s density maximum at 4 degrees Celsius can be explained by the fact that the tetrahedral structures are of lower density, which does not vary significantly with temperature, while the more disordered regions—which are of higher density—become more disordered and so less dense with increasing temperature. Likewise, as water heats, the percentage of molecules in the more disordered state increases, allowing this excitable structure to absorb significant amounts of heat, which leads to water’s high heat capacity. Water’s tendency to form strong hydrogen bonds explains the high surface tension that insects take advantage of when walking across water.

Connecting the molecular structure of water with its bulk properties in this way is tremendously important for fields ranging from medicine and biology to climate and energy research.

“If we don’t understand this basic life material, how can we study the more complex life materials—like proteins—that are immersed in water?” asked Postdoctoral Researcher Congcong Huang, who conducted the X-ray scattering experiments. “We must understand the simple before we can understand the complex.”

This research was conducted by scientists from SLAC, Stockholm University, Spring-8, University of Tokyo, Hiroshima University, and Linkoping University. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish National Supercomputer Center and the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture through a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research.

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a multi-program laboratory exploring frontier questions in photon science, astrophysics, particle physics and accelerator research. Located in Menlo Park, California, SLAC is operated by Stanford University for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. SLAC’s Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource is a national user facility which provides synchrotron radiation for research in chemistry, biology, physics and materials science to over two thousand users each year.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Neuse River fish kill totals more than 50 million

Neuse River fish kill totals more than 50 million

Noon Edition Producer
Published: September 17, 2009

Millions of fish are turning up dead or dying in parts of the Neuse River.
Neuse Riverkeeper Larry Baldwin estimates more than 50 million fish are now floating in the river.
Baldwin says some fish kills do occur naturally on the river, but he claims this is not a natural occurrence.
The Division of Water Quality says there is no evidence that the kill is caused by anything other than low oxygen levels in the water.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Clean Water Laws Are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering

Clean Water Laws Are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering

Damon Winter/The New York Times

Ryan Massey, 7, shows his caps. Dentists near Charleston, W.Va., say pollutants in drinking water have damaged residents’ teeth. Nationwide, polluters have violated the Clean Water Act more than 500,000 times.


Published: September 12, 2009

Jennifer Hall-Massey knows not to drink the tap water in her home near Charleston, W.Va.

Clean Water Act Violations: The Enforcement Record

The New York Times surveyed violations of the Clean Water Act in every state, and the response by state regulators.

How Safe Is Your Water? (September 13, 2009)

Damon Winter/The New York Times

Jennifer Hall-Massey relies on drinking water that is brought in by truck and stored in barrels on her porch near Charleston, W.Va.

In fact, her entire family tries to avoid any contact with the water. Her youngest son has scabs on his arms, legs and chest where the bathwater — polluted with lead, nickel and other heavy metals — caused painful rashes. Many of his brother’s teeth were capped to replace enamel that was eaten away.

Neighbors apply special lotions after showering because their skin burns. Tests show that their tap water contains arsenic, barium, lead, manganese and other chemicals at concentrations federal regulators say could contribute to cancer and damage the kidneys and nervous system.

“How can we get digital cable and Internet in our homes, but not clean water?” said Mrs. Hall-Massey, a senior accountant at one of the state’s largest banks.

She and her husband, Charles, do not live in some remote corner of Appalachia. Charleston, the state capital, is less than 17 miles from her home.

“How is this still happening today?” she asked.

When Mrs. Hall-Massey and 264 neighbors sued nine nearby coal companies, accusing them of putting dangerous waste into local water supplies, their lawyer did not have to look far for evidence. As required by state law, some of the companies had disclosed in reports to regulators that they were pumping into the ground illegal concentrations of chemicals — the same pollutants that flowed from residents’ taps.

But state regulators never fined or punished those companies for breaking those pollution laws.

This pattern is not limited to West Virginia. Almost four decades ago, Congress passed the Clean Water Act to force polluters to disclose the toxins they dump into waterways and to give regulators the power to fine or jail offenders. States have passed pollution statutes of their own. But in recent years, violations of the Clean Water Act have risen steadily across the nation, an extensive review of water pollution records by The New York Times found.

In the last five years alone, chemical factories, manufacturing plants and other workplaces have violated water pollution laws more than half a million times. The violations range from failing to report emissions to dumping toxins at concentrations regulators say might contribute to cancer, birth defects and other illnesses.

However, the vast majority of those polluters have escaped punishment. State officials have repeatedly ignored obvious illegal dumping, and the Environmental Protection Agency, which can prosecute polluters when states fail to act, has often declined to intervene.

Because it is difficult to determine what causes diseases like cancer, it is impossible to know how many illnesses are the result of water pollution, or contaminants’ role in the health problems of specific individuals.

But concerns over these toxins are great enough that Congress and the E.P.A. regulate more than 100 pollutants through the Clean Water Act and strictly limit 91 chemicals or contaminants in tap water through the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Regulators themselves acknowledge lapses. The new E.P.A. administrator, Lisa P. Jackson, said in an interview that despite many successes since the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, today the nation’s water does not meet public health goals, and enforcement of water pollution laws is unacceptably low. She added that strengthening water protections is among her top priorities. State regulators say they are doing their best with insufficient resources.

The Times obtained hundreds of thousands of water pollution records through Freedom of Information Act requests to every state and the E.P.A., and compiled a national database of water pollution violations that is more comprehensive than those maintained by states or the E.P.A. (For an interactive version, which can show violations in any community, visit

In addition, The Times interviewed more than 250 state and federal regulators, water-system managers, environmental advocates and scientists.

That research shows that an estimated one in 10 Americans have been exposed to drinking water that contains dangerous chemicals or fails to meet a federal health benchmark in other ways.

Those exposures include carcinogens in the tap water of major American cities and unsafe chemicals in drinking-water wells. Wells, which are not typically regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, are more likely to contain contaminants than municipal water systems.

Because most of today’s water pollution has no scent or taste, many people who consume dangerous chemicals do not realize it, even after they become sick, researchers say.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Neuse River Fish Kill in Sept 09 - 4 million fish dead

Fish kill total may be up to 4 million, setting record
September 07, 2009 9:48 PM
Sun Journal Staff

Reports of more dead fish on the Neuse River continue to come to waterway observers, increasing estimates from of a fish kill that began as 8,000 fish on Thursday to as many as 4 million.
Larry Baldwin, lower Neuse Riverkeeper for the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation, said reports of additional dead fish have continued to come from people located several miles upriver from New Bern to areas as far as southeast as Clubfoot Creek.

This “gives a very conservative estimate of at least 4 million dead fish over the last four days,” Baldwin said.

The main species involved is Atlantic Menhaden, an anatropous species or one that moves into rivers from the ocean to breed and one that is very important for the river and the U.S. coast, he said.

“As these fish move back to the open ocean, they are transporting biomass – nutrients they have fed upon that are now part of their bodies - out of the river and into the ocean,” Baldwin said.

In this way their presence cleans the river. When they die before making it back to the ocean, however, the nutrients stay in the river and threaten to overload it.
Although Menhaden are no longer processed in North Carolina, the species remains an important commercial fishing resource. It is still fished from areas of the N.C. coast for domestic plants in Virginia and Louisiana.

Baldwin and a spokesman for the N.C. Division of Water Quality attributed the kill to natural causes that precipitated a lack of dissolved oxygen in the water column.
This has been a fairly common late-summer event for the last 20 years, but Baldwin said a major upwelling of this magnitude did not exist prior to the late 1980s.
“Numerous scientific studies have made a direct connection to the impacts of pollution from large animal operations, stormwater, industrial and municipal influences to the decline in water quality in the Neuse River,” he said.

This is the ninth Neuse River fish kill reported in 2009 and now appears to be the largest. In an Aug. 21 kill, an estimated 3.9 million fish died. No sores or lesions were reported on fish in either event.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

USA -NOAA to Pursue National Policy for Sustainable Marine Aquaculture§ionid=1

USA -NOAA to Pursue National Policy for Sustainable Marine Aquaculture

NOAA has announced its intent to develop a comprehensive national policy for sustainable marine aquaculture in the coming months, providing a framework for addressing aquaculture activity in federal waters.

The national policy also will provide context for the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Regulating Offshore Aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico, which took effect today.

Neuse River Fish Kill

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mississippi State gets D+ for Protecting Water Quality

State gets D+ for Protecting Water Quality

The multi-million dollar shrimp and fishing industries have been severely affected by state's lack of protection for waters emptying into the Gulf.

by Adam Lynch

September 3, 2009

Mississippi rates a lowly D+ for protecting the quality of natural water sources, according to the Gulf Restoration Network. The organization, an alliance of local individuals and national and regional groups, issued a report card grading how committed (or non-committed) state officials are at incorporating the standards of the Clean Water Act of 1977. The Clean Water Act established goals of reducing national water pollution and eliminating the release of water fouled with high amounts of toxic waste.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

OMEGA - offshore membrane enclosures for growing algae

NASA bags algae, wastewater in bid for aviation fuel
By KATIE HOWELL, Greenwire
Published: May 12, 2009

NASA is applying space technology to a decidedly down-to-earth effort that links the production of algae-based fuel with an inexpensive method of sewage treatment.

The space agency is growing algae for biofuel in plastic bags of sewage floating in the ocean.

Jonathan Trent, the lead researcher on the project at NASA's Ames Research Center in California, said the effort has three goals: Produce biofuels with few resources in a confined area, help cleanse municipal wastewater, and sequester emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide that are produced along the way.

"Algae are the best source of biofuels on the planet that we know about," Trent said in an interview. "If we can also clean [wastewater] at the same time we create biofuels, that would great."

The process is amazingly simple. It starts with algae being placed in sewage-filled plastic bags, which in true NASA style have a nifty acronym, OMEGA, for "offshore membrane enclosures for growing algae."

The OMEGA bags are semipermeable membranes that NASA developed to recycle astronauts' wastewater on long space missions. In this case, the membranes let freshwater exit but prevent saltwater from moving in.

Then the algae in the bag feast on nutrients in the sewage. The plants clean up the water and produce lipids -- fat-soluble molecules -- that will be used later as fuel.

Just as in algae biofuel production on land, the floating OMEGA bags use water, solar energy and carbon dioxide -- which in this case is absorbed through the plastic membrane -- to produce sugar that algae metabolize into lipids.

Oxygen and fresh, cleansed water are then released through the membrane to the ocean.

"It's energy-free," Trent said. "It doesn't cost us anything. Osmosis works by itself."

If Nualgi is used Diatoms can be grown in any Bay like area of the ocean without much investment in infrastructure.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Song for the Ocean

one million voices sing for change...

We are all connected by the Ocean.
Our everyday actions affect the world in which we live, and all creatures sharing our planet.
I wrote “Song for the Ocean,” so that, through singing, we can raise our awareness and get involved in creating positive environmental change.

My goal for the “Song for the Ocean” project is to get a a minimum of 1 million people to join me in singing this song. As we sing, let’s hold the vision of a healthy planet, and make a commitment to the the Earth and all it’s creatures, to be a part of positive change in whatever ways we can. You can sing this song on your own, in a group, a chorus, any way you can imagine. Videotape yourself or a group singing “Song for the Ocean” and upload your video to YouTube...I will add you to my favorites! I am going to keep a list of all people who sing on the song, so e-mail your names, and you can be one of the million voices!

Sunday, August 23, 2009




- Eutrophication is a slow ageing process during which a lake or estuary evolves into a bog or marsh and eventually disappears. During eutrophication, the lake becomes so rich in nutritive compounds (especially nitrogen and phosphorus) that algae and other microscopic plant life become superabundant, thereby choking the lake and causing it to eventually dry up.

- Eutrophication is accelerated by discharges of nutrients in the form of sewage, detergents and fertilizers into the ecosystem.
Eutrophication can be a natural process in lakes, as they age through geological time. Estuaries also tend to be naturally eutrophic because land-derived nutrients are concentrated where run-off enters the marine environment in a confined channel and mixing of relatively high nutrient freshwater with low nutrient marine water occurs.

- Lakes and reservoirs can be broadly classified as ultra-oligotrophic, oligotrophic, mesotrophic, eutrophic or hypereutrophic depending on the concentration of nutrients in the body of water and/or based on ecological manifestations of the nutrient loading. In general terms, oligotrophic lakes are characterized by low nutrient inputs and primary productivity, high transparency and a diverse biota. In contrast, eutrophic waters have high nutrient inputs and primary productivity, low transparency, and a high biomass of fewer species with a greater proportion of cyanobacteria than in oligotrophic waters.

- Eutrophication can also cause Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), which can harm fish and shellfish, as well as the people who consume them. Some algae can cause negative effects when they appear in dense blooms, while others have potent neurotoxins and need not be present in large numbers.

- In the 90s, the regions of Asia and the Pacific had more lakes and reservoirs with eutrophication problems (54%) than Europe (53%), Africa (28%), North America (48%) and South America (41%).
Because of eutrophication, Lake Victoria in Africa has become turbid to the point that brightly coloured fish species cannot see each other clearly enough and they have begun to interbreed.

- In China, Lake Dianchi near Kunming and Lake Taihu near Wuxi both suffer from extreme eutrophication. In these lakes vast areas are covered by dense algal blooms and fish-breeding has been almost totally abandoned because there is no oxygen for them to breath, especially in autumn. Almost all native water plants and many fish species have been killed. Snails die from lack of oxygen in the bottom water and in addition the poor water quality makes it very difficult to supply water for domestic use that meets legal standards.
Removing nutrients in the form of fish biomass is perhaps the best solution to eutrophication.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Animal waste in USA

Friday, August 21, 2009

Canada's sickest Lake - Winnipeg

Algal Blooms’s-sickest-lake/

Globally, toxic algal blooms—in both lakes and coastal systems—have been increasing in number, frequency and size. A toxic bloom in the Yellow Sea at Qingdao nearly halted the sailing events at last summer’s Beijing Olympics. A year earlier, a rank toxic bloom choked legendary Lake Tai, China’s third-largest freshwater lake, leaving more than two million people without drinking water and killing fish. Meanwhile, a 7,770-sq.-km oxygen-starved “dead zone” has spread in the Gulf of Mexico where the Mississippi—chock full of fertilizers after draining the U.S. Midwest—spills into the ocean, causing an explosion of toxic algae and bacteria, killing fish and threatening the Gulf’s $2.8-billion fishery. Scientists say such zones are spreading, and could one day make up one-fifth of the world’s oceans.

Nualgi can stop harmful algal blooms.

Have you thanked a phytoplankton today?

Have you thanked a phytoplankton today?
August 20, 9:16 PM
Charleston Green Living Examiner
Patti Romano


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Source of nutrients in Gulf of Mexico

Source of Nitrogen and Phosphorus in the Gulf of Mexico

Source Nitrogen (%) Phosphorus (%)

Corn and Soyabean crops 52 25
Other Crop 14 18
Pasture and range 5 37
Urban and population-related sources 9 12
Atmospheric deposition 16 -
Natural Land 4 8

Farmers use fertilzers to grow more crops and part of this is used to feed fish.
The fertilizer run off causes harmful algal bloom and this reduces fish population.

Instead if Nualgi is used the excesss fertilizer in water can be converted into fish feed via Diatom Algae and fisheries use of corn or soya meal as fish feed will reduce.

Diatoms are also source of biodiesel.

Thus many problems can be solved at one go.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Red Tides update

Red Tide off coast of Maine, USA.

It appears that the Harmful Algal Bloom phenomenon is becoming more of a problem worldwide. One impact that we at Ocean Power Magazine are pondering is what would be the impact to wave or tidal power generating equipment if ensconced in an algae bloom? Just another hurdle that will have to be traversed on the path to ocean power generation. Researchers and scientists at NOAA , Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and many others around the world, continue to monitor and study this harmful but sometimes beautiful phenomenon.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Blue Legacy - Louisiana: Downstream dead zone

Blue Legacy - Louisiana: Downstream dead zone

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dead Zones

Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences

Diaz and Rosenberg write “There’s no other variable of such ecological importance to coastal marine ecosystems that has changed so drastically over such a short time as dissolved oxygen.”

We can only reply.
There is no solution that increases Dissolved Oxygen as dramatically as Nualgi and Diatom Algae.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

World’s dust bowl - Diatom dust - Africa to South America

World’s dust bowl

Changing ecosystems: Recent studies highlight the potential for changes in the quantities of desert dust, and the consequent alterations in ecosystems functioning in places far flung from the sources of desert dust. So, half of all the Amazonian dust supply is from the Sahara desert, writes Meera Iyer

We already know that climate change might drastically alter landscapes around the world. Interestingly, one of the prime agents of changing ecology might be dust from deserts, and often where you least expect it.

Several studies have shown that the Sahara desert is the world’s largest source of desert dust. A mind boggling 240 ± 80 million tons of dust is transported from the Sahara desert to the Atlantic Ocean and beyond every year.

Dustiest place in the world
Within the Sahara, the Bodélé Depression, on the northeastern end of Lake Chad, is notable as the single largest source of dust, responsible for about half of all the dust in the Sahara! This seems extraordinary, considering that the Bodélé Depression is only 150 km2, or about 0.2 per cent of the area of the Sahara desert.

The Bodélé owes its status as the world’s premier dust source to its past history, its unique topography and the resultant weather patterns.

Today’s Lake Chad is but a poor shadow of the vast lake that existed here about 7,000 years ago, at which point Mega-Chad was the world’s biggest lake. Diatoms – a type of algae found in water bodies – thrived here.
The remains of their silicaceous shells were deposited in thick layers on the lakebed, forming a soft rock called diatomite, which was exposed once the lake began drying. This very fine-grained mineral is easily dislodged and transported by the strong near-surface winds here (called the low-level jet) which are accelerated and funnelled by mountains on the north and southeast of the Bodélé.

About 50 million tons of all the dust transported out of Africa reached the Amazon rainforest every year. And about half of all the Amazonian dust supply is from the Bodélé, making it the largest supplier of dust to the Amazon.

For most of us, dust is merely something to be periodically cleared off surfaces, an irritant that we would gladly be rid of. But Saharan dust is in fact a lifeline for the rainforest. The soils of the Amazon basin are typically nutrient-poor, so that the rainforest trees are able to maintain their nutrient balance only through the inputs of nutrient-rich desert dust from the across the Atlantic Ocean.

Impacts of climate change
Two recent studies highlight the potential for changes in the quantities of desert dust, and the consequent alterations in ecosystem functioning in places far flung from the sources of desert dust.

In a paper published in late July in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Richard Washington from the University of Oxford, along with colleagues from Universite Blaise Pascal in France and the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research in Germany, outline how the Bodélé Depression could be considered a tipping element for climate. Taking off from Malcolm Gladwell’s enormously popular book on tipping points – about how “little things can make a big difference”, a tipping element in the earth’s climate describes components of the Earth system that may pass a tipping point.

To determine how climate change may impact the production of dust from the Bodélé, Washington et al.’s paper focused on the controls on the amounts of dust produced, viz., controls on the strong near-surface winds, and on the amounts of diatomite available for erosion.

The authors used leading models of the Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison for the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to estimate the effects of climate change on the Bodélé.

Based on these climate models, and with the caveat that there is a great deal of uncertainty in the models, the authors expect an increase in rainfall over the region. Lake Chad has in fact emptied and refilled more than three times in the last 3-4000 years, with dust output dropping to zero during wetter periods and increasing once again during dry periods.

However, the authors aver that the rainfall increases predicted by the climate change models would be insufficient to cause a drop in dust production.
Instead, the researchers believe that climate change could in fact increase the amounts of Bodélé dust produced over the coming century.

This is based on climate models that also predict an increase in near surface wind speeds in this region in the later decades of the coming century.

Impact on alpine ecosystem
A second paper, also in PNAS, examines the impacts of increasing desert dust on the alpine ecosystem of the San Juan mountains, Colorado, USA. Dust here comes largely from the southwestern United States, with minor inputs from Asia. In the last two hundred years, the introduction and expansion of livestock rearing and railways in the southwest has led to an astonishing 500% increase in dust deposition in the San Juan.
To understand the possible implications of such an increase, Heidi Steltzer from Colorado State University and colleagues, set up experimental plots in the mountains, adding desert dust to some plots, removing naturally arrived dust from a second set and leaving a third set of test plots unchanged.

They found that increased dust deposition caused snows to melt 7 to 13 days earlier. Interestingly, climate warming in the region also advances snowmelt, but because early snowmelt caused by dust is not accompanied with higher temperatures, it has different biological consequences. The researches found that it led to synchronised growth and flowering across species, a result which could impact ecosystem functioning, including nutrient cycling, and inter-species interactions and hence species compositions.