New seaweed species discovery


This 2015 video is called Gloiopeltis furcata Top # 5 Facts.

From Kobe University in Japan:

New species of seaweed uncovered by genetic analyses

November 19, 2019

Genetic analyses have revealed remarkably higher species diversity in common red seaweed than previously assumed. It was thought that there were only five related species of the Gloiopeltis genus (known as ‘funori’ in Japanese) worldwide. However, genetic analyses of historic and modern specimens have revealed that there are over ten in Japan alone. The reinstatement of the species Gloiopeltis compressa (new Japanese name: Ryukyu-funori) was proposed by this research. It is found in Okinawa and has previously been confused with other species of Gloiopeltis.

These discoveries were made by an international research collaboration group consisting of the following members from Kobe University; Assistant Professor Takeaki Hanyuda, Professor Hiroshi Kawai (both of the Research Center for Inland Seas) and Kensho Yamamura (2nd year Masters in Biology at the Graduate School of Science).

The results of this research were published in the following journals; ‘Phycologia‘ (October 14, 2019) and ‘Phycological Research’ (October 29, 2019).

Research Findings

Gloiopeltis is a genus of seaweed that is reddish brown to dark yellow in color. Called ‘funori’ in Japanese, it has been utilized to make glue and binding since ancient times. It is also used as an ingredient in miso soup.

Until recently, there were five identified species worldwide, three of which were found in Japan- ‘fukuro-funori’ (Gloiopeltis furcata), ‘ma-funori’ (Gloiopeltis tenax) and ‘hana-funori’ (Gloiopeltis complanata). This research team revealed through genetic analyses that there are in fact over ten species of Gloiopeltis in Japan alone.

Analyses of Gloiopeltis furcata

Gloiopeltis furcata has the widest distribution range among Gloiopeltis species. It is found in the inter-tidal zones of temperate to cold water regions covering most of the northern Pacific Coasts. The research team genetically analyzed specimens of G. furcata collected from many habitats across its wide distribution. They revealed that there are 4 to 5 unnamed species that have previously been misclassified as G. furcata. These are easily confused with each other unless genetically analyzed.

Genetic analysis also suggested that some populations of G. furcata had previously been miscategorized as separate species. It was shown that Gloiopeltis minuta native to California and so called due to its small size, was in fact G. furcata. A 19th century sample from Kamchatka, Russia was classified as G. dura, however this species has not been reported since the name was introduced. Genetic analysis showed that this species was also synonymous with G. furcata.

The research group also genetically analyzed the type specimen of G. furcata taken from Sitka in Alaska in the 19th century. This specimen is currently housed at the V. L. Komarov Botanical Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia. Analyses revealed that this specimen was very close genetically to the specimens found in the Hokkaido and Tohoku areas of Japan. It was determined that they are conspecific- they belong to the same species. As G. furcata has been reported over a much wider range of Japan, it is thought that there are several different species south of Tohoku- more research is required to illuminate this.

Analyses of the Gloiopeltis complanata subgenus

Gloiopeltis complanata is distinguishable from G. furcata by its smaller size and greater number of branches.

To discover more about the G. complanata clade, genetic analyses were performed on historic and modern samples from the Okinawa region. This included 19th-century specimens now held at Trinity College Herbarium in Ireland. These historical samples were taken by American botanist Charles Wright during the North Pacific Exploring Expedition of 1853-56.

The results confirmed that there is a separate species that was previously thought to be the same as G. complanata, which was very close genetically to a species which was described as Caulacanthus compressus in the 19th century. Therefore, this research group proposed the reinstatement of the species Gloiopeltis compressa (new Japanese name: Ryukyu-funori). It is mainly found in Okinawa (formerly the Ryukyu kingdom) and is characterized by its smaller size.

Discovery of an unconfirmed species in Japan

This research also revealed that a species previously found in Korea — Gloiopeltis frutex — also grows around Kyushu in southern Japan. Overall, this research has identified a new species, Ryukyu-funori (Gloiopeltis compressa), and has revealed that there is great variation in the Gloiopeltis genus in Japan and worldwide. Continuing research is hoped to illuminate this further.

How the dinosaurs died, algae research information


This August 2017 video says about itself:

Seventy million years ago, long-necked sauropods, fierce theropods, crocodiles, lizards, and raven-sized birds all came to drink in a rapidly drying river. It was to be their final resting place. Last week, researchers in proposed a culprit behind this ancient Madagascar mystery: harmful algal blooms, in the very water that had lured the animals.

Vertebrate paleontologist Nicholas Pyenson of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., who was not part of the study, said the remains of such algal blooms “should be more common in the fossil record.” But he cautions that they are tough to prove.

From the GFZ GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, Helmholtz Centre in Germany:

New study underpins the idea of a sudden impact killing off dinosaurs and much of the other life

October 22, 2019

Fossil remains of tiny calcareous algae not only provide information about the end of the dinosaurs, but also show how the oceans recovered after the fatal asteroid impact. Experts agree that a collision with an asteroid caused a mass extinction on our planet, but there were hypotheses that ecosystems were already under pressure from increasing volcanism. “Our data speak against a gradual deterioration in environmental conditions 66 million years ago,” says Michael Henehan of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. Together with colleagues from the University of Yale, he published a study in the scientific journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS) that describes ocean acidification during this period.

He investigated isotopes of the element boron in the calcareous shells of plankton (foraminifera). According to the findings, there was a sudden impact that led to massive ocean acidification. It took millions of years for the oceans to recover from acidification. “Before the impact event, we could not detect any increasing acidification of the oceans,” says Henehan.

The impact of a celestial body left traces: the “Chicxulub crater” in the Gulf of Mexico and tiny amounts of iridium in sediments. Up to 75 percent of all animal species went extinct at the time. The impact marks the boundary of two geological eras — the Cretaceous and the Palaeogene (formerly known as the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary).

Henehan and his team at Yale University reconstructed the environmental conditions in the oceans using fossils from deep-sea drill cores and from rocks formed at that time. According to this, after the impact, the oceans became so acidic that organisms that made their shells from calcium carbonate could not survive. Because of this, as life forms in the upper layers of the oceans became extinct, carbon uptake by photosynthesis in the oceans was reduced by half. This state lasted several tens of thousands of years before calcareous algae spread again. However, it took several million years until the fauna and flora had recovered and the carbon cycle had reached a new equilibrium.

The researchers found decisive data for this during an excursion to the Netherlands, where a particularly thick layer of rock from the Cretaceous-Palaeogene boundary is preserved in a cave. “In this cave, an especially thick layer of clay from the immediate aftermath of the impact accumulated, which is really quite rare” says Henehan. In most settings, sediment accumulates so slowly that such a rapid event such as an asteroid impact is hard to resolve in the rock record. “Because so much sediment was laid down there at once, it meant we could extract enough fossils to analyse, and we were able to capture the transition,” says Henehan.

Most of the work was done at his former place of work, Yale University. Now, at the GFZ, he is using the infrastructure here and hopes that this will provide a major impetus for his work. “With the femtosecond laser in the HELGES laboratory, we are working to be able to measure these kind of signals from much smaller amounts of sample,” says Henehan. “This will in the future enable us to obtain all sorts of information at really high resolution in time, even from locations with very low sedimentation rates.”

Coral reefs since the age of dinosaurs


This May 2018 video says about itself:

The Coral Reef: 10 Hours of Relaxing Oceanscapes | BBC Earth

Sit back, relax and enjoy the colourful world of coral reefs as we take you on a journey through some of the most vibrant parts of our blue planet with this 10 hour loop.

From Penn State university in the USA:

Diverse symbionts of reef corals have endured since ‘age of dinosaurs

August 9, 2018

Coral-algal partnerships have endured numerous climate change events in their long history, and at least some are likely to survive modern-day global warming as well, suggests an international team of scientists.

The team’s conclusion is based on the finding that the relationship between corals and the mutualistic micro-algae that enable them to build reefs is considerably older and more diverse than previously assumed.

“Past estimates placed the initiation of these symbiotic relationships at 50 to 65 million years ago“, said Todd LaJeunesse, associate professor of biology, Penn State. “Our research indicates that modern corals and their algal partners have been entwined with each other for much longer — since the time of the dinosaurs, approximately 160 million years ago. During their long existence, they have faced severe episodes of environmental change, but have managed to bounce back after each one.”

According to LaJeunesse, the micro-algae, commonly called zooxanthellae — of the dinoflagellate family Symbiodiniaceae — live inside the cells of corals, allowing them to acquire energy from sunlight and to build the massive, economically valuable reef formations upon which countless marine organisms rely for habitat.

“The fossil record shows that today’s reef-building corals exploded in diversity around 160 million years ago,” said LaJeunesse. “Finding that the origin of the algal symbionts corresponds to major increases in the abundance and diversity of reef-building corals implies that the partnership with Symbiodiniaceae was one of the major reasons for the success of modern corals.”

The team used genetic evidence — including DNA sequences, phylogenetic analyses and genome comparisons — to calculate the micro-algae’s approximate age of origin. They also used classical morphological techniques in which they compared visual characteristics of these symbionts using light and electron microscopy, along with computer modeling and other methods, to discover that in addition to being older, the algae family is far more diverse than previously perceived. The results appear online today (Aug. 9) in Current Biology.

“Presently, numerous algal lineages, called clades, are lumped into just one genus”, said John Parkinson, postdoctoral researcher, Oregon State University. “Using genetic techniques, we provide evidence that the family actually comprises at least 15 genera, including hundreds and possibly thousands of species worldwide.”

This is important, he explained, because some micro-algal symbionts have characteristics that make them more resilient to changes in the environment than other symbionts.

“The updated naming scheme offers a clear framework to identify different symbionts”, said Parkinson. “Accurate taxonomy (the identification and naming of species) is a critical step in any biological research. This is especially true for studies attempting to understand how the partnership between reef corals and their micro-algae, which are needed for survival and growth, may adapt to climate change. For example, when many corals are exposed to high temperatures they lose their symbiotic algae and die. Others are far more tolerant of heat, and some of this resilience is based on the species of algae they have.”

Parkinson noted that the team has been working for close to a decade to modernize coral symbiont taxonomy in order to improve communication among scientists and advance future research on reef corals.

“Until now, studies on the physiology and ecology of these algae attempted to compare apples to apples”, said Parkinson. “Considering how different some of them are, we now recognize that often we were comparing apples to oranges. These changes will help researchers to think more accurately about the comparisons they are making in experiments.”

Beautiful colours in Chinese salt lake


This 1 August 2018 video says about itself:

Thousand-year-old salt lake shining like a painter’s palette in north China

Sweltering temperatures have caused a thousand-year-old salt lake to turn brilliant colours recently in Yuncheng City, north China’s Shanxi Province.

Small crustaceans, algae cause these colours in these dry circumstances.

Cassiopea jellyfish sunbathing video


This video says about itself:

Jellyfish Sunbathing Sessions | BBC Earth

27 May 2018

The Cassiopea isn’t just a normal jellyfish – they are solar powered, photosynthetic jellyfish, thanks to the symbiotic algae that live on them.

Tubular colonial jellies known as pyrosomes that arrived in 2014 along North America’s Pacific Northwest Coast appear to be adapting to cooler water and may become permanent residents: here.

Dinosaur age dinoflagellates discovery in Australia


This 2015 video from the USA says about itself:

Dino Pet is a clear plastic dinosaur figure [toy] that houses living organisms called dinoflagellates that come from the ocean. For full review and shopping info: here.

Product Info: The dinoflagellates photosynthesize during the day and glow blue at night when shaken. This is called bioluminescence and is a naturally occurring process seen in many sea creatures. The Dino Pet’s instruction booklet provides more information on the science behind bioluminescence.

From the University of Adelaide in Australia:

Red tide fossils point to Jurassic sea flood

June 5, 2018

Dinosaur-age fossilised remains of tiny organisms normally found in the sea have been discovered in inland, arid Australia — suggesting the area was, for a short time at least, inundated by sea water 40 million years before Australia’s large inland sea existed.

The fossils are the egg-like cysts of microorganisms known as dinoflagellates, best known for producing red tides or algal blooms that can turn the sea water blood red. The cysts rest on the sea floor before hatching new dinoflagellates.

Researchers at the University of Adelaide, in collaboration with geological consultancy MGPalaeo, discovered these microfossils in Jurassic rocks of south-western Queensland, near the town of Roma.

Described in the journal Palynology, the fossils have been dated to the late Jurassic period, 148 million years ago. This is a time when Australia was joined to Antarctica, and where dinosaurs roamed across ancient rivers, floodplains and swamps.

“We have plenty of evidence from the 110 million-year-old vast inland Eromanga Sea, which covered a large swathe of central, eastern Australia during the Cretaceous period (following on from the Jurassic)”, says Dr Carmine Wainman, Postdoctoral Fellow in the University of Adelaide’s Australian School of Petroleum.

“We’ve seen the opalised fossils sold in Adelaide’s Rundle Mall, and the spectacular ancient marine reptiles on display in the South Australian Museum — all from the later Cretaceous period.

“However, this new microfossil evidence from the same region suggests there was a short-lived precursor to this sea 40 million years earlier.”

Dr Wainman believes these microfossils must have been brought inland by an incursion of sea water and then evolved quickly to adapt to the freshwater or brackish conditions as the sea waters slowly receded.

“There is no other feasible explanation for how they managed to reach the interior of the Australian continent when the ancient coastline was thousands of kilometres away,” Dr Wainman says.

“It was probably a result of rising sea levels during a time of greenhouse conditions before the establishment of the Eromanga Sea. With further investigations, we may find more of these microorganisms or even fossilised marine reptiles that uncover untold secrets about how this part of the world looked in the Jurassic.”

Some dinoflagellate plankton species are bioluminescent, with a remarkable ability to produce light to make themselves and the water they swim in glow. Now, researchers have found that for one dinoflagellate species (Lingulodinium polyedra), this bioluminescence is also a defense mechanism that helps them ward off the copepod grazers that would like to eat them: here.

Sea slug uses solar energy


This 2016 video from Britain is called The Solar Powered Sea Slug (Elysia viridis).

From Rutgers University in the USA, about an American relative of that species:

Solar powered sea slugs shed light on search for perpetual green energy

Near-shore animal becomes plant-like after pilfering tiny solar panels and storing them in its gut

May 3, 2018

In an amazing achievement akin to adding solar panels to your body, a Northeast sea slug sucks raw materials from algae to provide its lifetime supply of solar-powered energy, according to a study by Rutgers University-New Brunswick and other scientists.

“It’s a remarkable feat because it’s highly unusual for an animal to behave like a plant and survive solely on photosynthesis“, said Debashish Bhattacharya, senior author of the study and distinguished professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at Rutgers-New Brunswick. “The broader implication is in the field of artificial photosynthesis. That is, if we can figure out how the slug maintains stolen, isolated plastids to fix carbon without the plant nucleus, then maybe we can also harness isolated plastids for eternity as green machines to create bioproducts or energy. The existing paradigm is that to make green energy, we need the plant or alga to run the photosynthetic organelle, but the slug shows us that this does not have to be the case.”

The sea slug Elysia chlorotica, a mollusk that can grow to more than 2 inches long, has been found in the intertidal zone between Nova Scotia, Canada, and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, as well as in Florida. Juvenile sea slugs eat the nontoxic brown alga Vaucheria litorea and become photosynthetic — or solar-powered — after stealing millions of algal plastids, which are like tiny solar panels, and storing them in their gut lining, according to the study published online in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.

Photosynthesis is when algae and plants use sunlight to create chemical energy (sugars) from carbon dioxide and water. The brown alga’s plastids are photosynthetic organelles (like the organs in animals and people) with chlorophyll, a green pigment that absorbs light.

This particular alga is an ideal food source because it does not have walls between adjoining cells in its body and is essentially a long tube loaded with nuclei and plastids, Bhattacharya said. “When the sea slug makes a hole in the outer cell wall, it can suck out the cell contents and gather all of the algal plastids at once,” he said.

Based on studies of other sea slugs, some scientists have argued that they steal and store plastids as food to be digested during hard times, like camels that store fat in their humps, Bhattacharya said. This study showed that’s not the case for solar-powered Elysia chlorotica.

“It has this remarkable ability to steal these algal plastids, stop feeding and survive off the photosynthesis from the algae for the next six to eight months,” he said.

The team of Rutgers and other scientists used RNA sequencing (gene expression) to test their solar energy supply hypothesis. The data show that the slug responds actively to the stolen plastids by protecting them from digestion and turning on animal genes to utilize the algal photosynthetic products. Their findings mirror those found in corals that maintain dinoflagellates (also algae) — as intact cells and not stolen plastids — in symbiotic relationships.

Whereas Elysia chlorotica stores plastids, the algal nuclei that are also sucked in don’t survive, and scientists still don’t know how the sea slug maintains the plastids and photosynthesis for months without the nuclei that are normally needed to control their function, Bhattacharya said.