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".