Saturday, December 31, 2011

Diatom Slide show

An excellent slide show of Diatom photos by Dr David A Menton

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Water Pollution due to farming - Ohio

Water quality issues
Nutrient and sediment loading into Ohio’s lakes and streams has been an issue for 40 or more years, and farmers’ conservation efforts have made a substantial improvement.

But, in the past year or two, it’s become increasingly clear more efforts are needed to tackle a slightly different issue: dissolved reactive phosphorous. Unlike other forms of phosphorous, the dissolved form is considered 100 percent available to unwanted plant growth — namely the harmful algal blooms.

Throughout the first part of the year, state officials put together a statewide task force to address what farmers should do. The group became known as the Agricultural Nutrients and Water Quality Work Group, and is comprised of staff from Ohio Department of Agriculture, the department of natural resources and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Dozens of farmers and farm agencies are helping the group form new recommendations for Ohio, to help improve water quality and reduce dissolved phosphorous levels.

By the close of the year, water quality was on the minds of grain and livestock farmers across the state.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Aerobic Difference

The Aerobic Difference

For both Soil and Water Systems!

For years, turf managers and growers have utilized both chemical and mechanical means to incorporate oxygen into their soils. Many realize that the type biological activity found in their soils is vital to maintaining healthy growth and quality turf grass. Soil scientists agree that this is true. Disease factors found in both plants and water primarily stem from the lack of oxygen. Soils lacking adequate oxygen are known as anaerobic while soils that have adequate oxygen on a consistent basis are referred to as aerobic. Therefore, turf managers often mechanically aerate their soils, using heavy equipment that literally pokes holes into the soil allowing air to penetrate, but this practice is costly and damages the turf.

Delivering oxygen to the root zone is necessary as conditions such as black layer often plague even the best of golf greens and cause putrid odors that resembles rotten eggs. This odor is caused by the over growth or proliferation of anaerobic bacteria such as desulfovibrio and desulfotomatuculum bacteria and/or various blue-green algae or cyanobacteria which produce mucilage that blocks both air and water movement in sandy and clay soils and acts as an energy source for anaerobic bacteria. It is the by-products of these various bacteria and the subsequent toxic soil conditions that occur that have a negative impact on the growth of roots and these have also been found to harbor disease-causing bacteria.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Limnology -Lake Horowhenua

Dr Maxx Gibbs

Pg 24

3 Limnology

Nutrients and sediments from the land accumulate in lakes and are stored in the lake sediments as a legacy from past land-use practices. Nitrogen (N) is continously mineralised and released from the sediment in the form of ammonium (NH4-N) which can be converted to nitrate (NO3-N) by nitrifying bacteria or sebsequently to nitrogen gas (N2) by denitrigying bacteria. The N2 gas is lost from the lake and the amount of N in the lake gradually reduces. Phosphorus (P) is mineralised to phosphate in the sediment but is retained in the sediment bound to iron and manganese oxides while the overlying lake wter contains oxygen (aerobic conditions). The bound P can be released from the sediments in the form of dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) when dissolved oxygen concentrations in the lake fall to zero anoxic. This consumption of oxygen for decomposition is referred to as sediment oxygen demand.

The N and P released from the sediment are readily used by algae for growth. If there is a surplus of N ( i.e., P - limitation to algal growth ), the dominant algal species will most likely be diatoms and green algae. If there is a surplus of P ( N - limitation to algal growth ), the dominant algal species will most likely be cyanobacteria ( blue-green algae ) which can use (fix) atmospheric nitrogen for growth. When the algae die they return the N and P in their cells to the sediment where it can be recycled again, augmenting the new N and P entering the lake from the catchment.

Nutrients released from the lake sediments are referred to as the internal nutrient load while nutrients entering the lake from the catchment via streams, ground water and direct discharge are external loads.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Arctic Methane Emergency Group

Arctic Methane Emergency Group

Diatoms are acknowledged as a possible solution to Arctic Methane emissions.

Battelle Interim Report on GLSM

Battelle Report Gives Recommendations to Grand Lake St. Marys Restoration Commission
Thu, 11/03/2011

Left to right: Henry Pate, Tom Gulbransen, John McArdle, Harry Stone

Battelle presented an interim report to the Grand Lake St. Marys Restoration Committee during a recent meeting at WSU Lake Campus after reviewing nearly 75 prospective vendor proposals. Each proposal included potential lake restoration technologies to address algal blooms that have occurred in Grand Lake St. Marys.

Submissions were analyzed by type of merit, their form and purpose including:

Controlling Phosphorus loading (internal and external)
Promising proposals from Ag Solutions Group
The screening process allowed a closer look at which vendors should be engaged in a more detailed evaluation. From this evaluation, Battelle recommended an ensemble of solutions that could be considered to be pursued locally both in the lake and in the surrounding watershed. Each of the recommended solutions follows one or more of the eight action items recommended in the Grand Lake St. Marys Restoration Strategic Plan.

The Battelle recommendation plan was made possible through partnership with the Governor’s office, The Western Ohio Educational Foundation, Wright State, all four agencies including Natural Resources, Agriculture, Health, and Environmental Protection. The report represents potential short-term and long-term strategies.

One of several of the recommendations, to best meet our short term goals: Lake-wide alum treatment for spring 2012, which is planned with the help of the State of Ohio.

As more plans are completed they will be made available to the public. One of these plans calls for help from residents along the many channels around the lake. Watch for further information on this exciting plan.

A copy of this report will be made available on the LIA website:

The primary goal of the Grand Lake Restoration Commission is to restore the health of the lake to ensure that the lake is functional for tourism use this year and every year thereafter. To help address this need, community leaders and volunteers came together in December 2009 to form the Grand Lake St. Marys Restoration Commission – a pioneering initiative dedicated to fostering the regional cooperation and resources needed for the environmental renewal and sustainability to the lake. Our initial efforts primarily focused on identifying the proven scientific strategies and technological solutions able to solve our environmental crisis.

Together, these partner agencies have identified various watershed and in/near-lake alternative best management practices (BMPs) that could be used to help meet the qualitative and quantitative restoration goals for Grand Lake St. Marys and its surrounding communities. Success of these partnerships is driven by the unique strengths of the collaborators wishing to identify new technologies and target entrepreneurial funding to bring them to market.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Arctic Methane

A short video clip of US Energy Secretary Dr. Chu on the subject of permafrost

Methane bubbling up -

Methane from lakes -

Arctic Methane Yahoo Group -

Diatom and Fish

A few papers on Diatoms and Fish

The Dependence of the Fishes on the Diatoms
Albert Mann.
Ecology, Vol. 2, No. 2 (Apr., 1921), pp. 79-83
Stable URL:

“No diatoms, no hake”

"There is no better illustration in science of the practical value of ecology than is afforded by the diatoms. The economic importance they are now [1921] seen to have might have been understood fifty years earlier [i.e, 1871] and some use might have been made of their value during that period of time, if the inter-relation of these remarkable plants with other forms of aquatic life had been prominent in the minds of investigators. As it is, they remained for many years little more than the playthings of microscopists, prized and wondered over because of their astonishing beauty, collected at great expense by enthusiastic amateurs, and illustrated in costly books, which may be searched through in vain for any hint of their worth outside of that belonging to their symmetry of form and striking loveliness of design."

[ for the past 90 / 140 years Diatoms have been badly neglected, we are trying to remedy the situation.]
A rising tide lifts all phytoplankton: Growth response of other phytoplankton taxa in diatom-dominated blooms.
R. T. Barber and M. R. Hiscock

"4. Diatom Response

It has commanded much attention because of the well-established relationship between diatom blooms and fish production [Iverson, 1990], which led Bostwick Ketchum to revise Isaiah 40:6 this way,

‘‘All fish is diatom.’’

[Isaiah 40:6 - A voice says, "Cry out." And I said, "What shall I cry?"
"All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.]
Flood of ‘08 served up feast for fish

“Compared to other phytoplankton, diatoms are like juicy steaks,” said Aguilar, who has been studying Lake Michigan’s diatoms and other phytoplankton for over a decade.
One may almost say no diatoms , no oysters. Some curious observations have been made in this respect. Mr. Bartholomew reports that the Menhaden (a surface feeding fish of the herring family) is quite a consumer of diatoms. He writes as follows: "You will probably be astonished to know that a 200 millimeter beaker of Menhaden intestines will frequently yield, after cleaning 25 millimeter of diatoms. Years ago, I thought I was a collector but my hat is off to the Menhaden.";NAAN=13030&doc.view=frames&

Sardines above 100 mm. feed primarily on diatoms, though copepods are at times prevalent. Among the adult sardines of 200 mm. or longer the food is mainly diatoms, and occasionally dinoflagellates or schizopods occur in major numbers.
Dr Victor Smetacek, he was the Chief Scientific Officer of LOHAFEX, the 13th Iron Fertilization experiment conducted in 2009

Diatoms - Krill - Whales; "the food chain of the giants."

Lipids - Copepods


Copepods eat their own weight belts

14 December 2011, by Tom Marshall

Scientists have solved the mystery of how tiny marine crustaceans called copepods regulate the rhythms of their life-cycle.


"It turns out that it's all about oil. The copepods have specialised fat stores that act like weight belts, letting the copepods maintain their depth easily and avoid attracting predators' attention with unnecessary movements. Building up enough fat reserves seems to be an essential step before diapause can begin - these reserves automatically trigger diapause once they reach a threshold level."


"Pond explains that the unsaturated fats that are crucial for buoyancy control are found mostly in plankton algae known as diatoms, so having these to feed on is crucial for copepods' ability to diapause successfully. He now plans to look at whether similar mechanisms help control the movements of other animal plankton, such as krill."

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Florida Slime Crime Tracker

Interesting website about Algal blooms in Florida

Florida Slime Crime Tracker
Florida's waterways are plagued by slime caused by fertilizer, sewage and animal manure. Click blue icons on the map, or on the list below, to view photographs of the muck.

The brackets below indicate the counties in which the slimed waterbody resides.

The photos were contributed by numerous clean water activists and advocacy organizations from across Florida and compiled into map form by the Sierra Club.

Have a photo to add? Comments? Want to help fight slime crime? Contact us at

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Biogeochemical significance of silicon in the world oceans

Biogeochemical significance of silicon in the world oceans
Diatoms are the major autotrophic communities in the euphotic zone in most regions of the world oceans. One of the most essential nutrients for frustule formation (cell wall or, theca) in the diatoms is silicate (SiO3). Higher the availability of SiO3 faster and better is the growth of diatoms. While emphasizing on the pivotal role of Si in the biology of diatoms and radiolarians in the oceanic realms, Dr Ittekkot, in his seminar at NIO, cautioned that anthropogenic activities, in particular construction of dams on major rivers in the world, are causing reduced Si discharges into the oceans and affecting the growth and abundance of diatoms over there. Based on the available literature on diatom composition, abundance and pre- and post-obstructions of the reverine discharges he indicated that the diatoms are adversely affected and giving alarming signals of depleting phytoplankton assemblages post-obstruction. Evidences point to catastrophic effects at least in the ocean-margins on diatoms, the major, innocuous autotrophs in the oceans. With Si depletion but nitrate and phosphate in abundance, the dinoflagellates - many species of which are toxic to many marine and terrestrial life forms - bloom and bring in unwanted changes in the marine ecosystem including mass mortalities of aquatic fauna and reduced fish harvests. He also highlighted the role of Si in regulating C fluxes [higher C fluxes when Si is adequately available for phytoplankton] and suggested that a great deal of new science needs to be done to address the consequences of reduced Si reaching the oceans due to dam constructions world over. Dr Ittekkot also brought out that 2 micromoles of SiO3 in the euphotic zone is adequate for the normal growth and activities of diatoms. While the deep-sea SiO3 concentrations are much higher, the time taken to reach up in the surface layers is very long and, often may not make it to the surface layers owing to physical barriers such as upper layer stratification. He summed up the seminar by appealing scientific community to address the Si issue from both the proposed river basin connectivity and the long term consequences of ocean productivity and biogeochemistry in an altered Si cycling scenario. Dr Venu Ittekkot works at ZMT, Bremen, Germany. (Reported by: N. Ramaiah)