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Posts Tagged ‘cyanobacteria’

Significant Algal Bloom Forecast for Western Lake Erie

Posted by feww on July 3, 2013

Significant harmful algal bloom forecast for western Lake Erie this summer: NOAA

Western Lake Erie will have a significant bloom of cyanobacteria, a toxic blue-green algae, this summer, NOAA and its research partners have predicted. The harmful algal bloom (HAB) season is expected to be larger than last year, but less than the record-setting 2011 bloom.

“This annual forecast and NOAA’s weekly bulletins provide the most advanced ecological information possible to Great Lakes businesses and resource managers so they can save time and money on the things they do that drive recreational activities and the economy,” said NOAA’s assistant administrator for the National Ocean Service.

2011 Bloom image
Satellite image of record-breaking 2011 bloom. Credit: MERIS et al., – processed by NOAA

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Posted in Global Disaster watch, global disasters, global disasters 2013, Significant Event Imagery, significant events | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sea Sponges Use ‘Optical Fibers’ to Transmit Light

Posted by feww on November 11, 2008

Why Sea Sponges Beam Light Deep Inside Their Bodies

An orange puffball sponge Tethya aurantia Photo credit: Steve Lonhart / SIMoN NOAA.

Sponges grow large by feeding on carbon, nitrogen and other metabolites, which are provided by smaller organisms including algae and cyanobacteria. However, algae and similar organisms require light to survive.

So, how do they survive deep inside the sponges without any apparent access to light?

That mystery now seems to have been solved. A team of researchers at the University of Stuttgart have discovered that sponges use glass-rod structures, like optical fibers, called spicules to beam light deep inside their bodies.

The researchers placed light sensitive paper deep inside living sponges of species Tethya aurantium in a darkened seawater tank and then shone light on the surface of the sponges. When they recovered the  paper, they discovered dark spots corresponding exactly to the end of each spicule, where the light had exited.

The researchers tested another sponge that grew without the specules, in a control experiment. They confirmed that the light did not transmit without the spicules.

Porifera: Skeletons

Sponges, like all animals, possess some sort of a skeleton that gives their bodies shape.

As a whole, poriferans have diverse skeletal elements including calcareous laminae, organic filaments, and siliceous and calcareous spicules.

The skeletons of each of the major poriferan groups are distinctive and have been used to reconstruct their evolutionary relationships.

Spicules come in an array of beautiful shapes, as seen in the SEM images to the right.

These images were obtained using UCMP’s Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope.

Spicules are often categorized by size, the larger being megascleres and the smaller microscleres.

Some spicules are formed of the mineralized substances calcium carbonate and silica, while others are made of an organic substance called spongin.

Spongin skeletons were and are used as scrubbers in bathtubs, though they are fairly expensive. The ubiquitous bathtub accessory called a lufa is NOT a sponge, but a plant. The mineralized forms are considerably more hard and are not as frequently used for commercial purposes. Image and Caption: UCMP.

Posted in Ecology, light Transmission, marine biology, spicule, symbiotic | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Outbreak of Dangerous Group A Streptococcus Bacterium in NZ

Posted by feww on June 17, 2008

[New Zealand Death Syndrome (NZDS), Health Bulletin # 12. Outbreak of Dangerous Group A Streptococcus Bacterium, June 17, 2008]

Urgent Visitor Health Warning: Keep Your Kids OUT of New Zealand!

Health workers revealed an outbreak of group A streptococcus bacterium, which causes rheumatic fever and can lead arthritis and heart damage, had infected at least 32 children in Kaikohe, New Zealand.

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Urgent Health Warning: Outbreak of Dangerous Group A Streptococcus Bacterium

Photomicrograph of Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria, 675x Mag. A pus specimen, viewed using Pappenheim’s stain. Last century, infections by S. pyogenes claimed many lives especially since the organism was the most important cause of puerperal fever and scarlet fever. This media comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Image Library (PHIL), with identification number #2110.

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