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Ancient Algae is Discovered in Tropical Mountain Ice Cap

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Microscopic algae buried in a tropical mountaintop ice cap are helping researchers better understand what the environment was like more than a millennium ago. Finding diatoms — which are single-celled algae — in an ice cap high atop the Andes in Peru came as a surprise to the researchers, who originally intended to examine their ice samples for possible carbon content. This is the first time researchers have found diatoms in glacial ice from a tropical region, according to the study. Scanning electron microscope photograph of a freshwater diatom found in the Quelccaya Ice Cap on the Andes in Peru. Diatoms, which are a fraction of the width of a human hair, can typically be found wherever there is water. Some are generalists, requiring only water, while others are pickier, living exclusively in salty or fresh water, or thriving only where the levels of certain nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, are low or high. Regardless of where they are, the organisms are usually at the bottom of the food chain in their habitat. Diatoms had previously been found in glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica, and other polar and alpine regions, said lead author Sherilyn Fritz, a professor of geosciences at the University of Nebraska. Fritz said that the diatoms in Greenland's glaciers got there by latching onto dust particles in North America and travelling to Greenland on wind power as part of the system involving global dust circulation. In contrast, the new research suggests that the diatoms found in the Quelccaya Ice Cap in the tropical Andes of southern Peru had a much shorter commute, Fritz told Live Science.  The researchers think that these diatoms likely originated in one of the many nearby high-altitude lakes or freshwater wetlands, because most of the diatoms that the researchers found, like Brachysira vitera and Aulacoseira alpigena, are specific to such habitats. Mountaintop regions are notoriously windy — the diatoms may have been swept up from the lakes by the wind and carried to the icy mountaintop. Eduardo Morales Luizaga, an adjunct professor and expert in diatoms at the Universidad Católica Boliviana San Pablo Regional Cochabamba in Bolivia, who was not involved in the study, agreed that the wind might have carried the diatoms. But it's also possible that birds and other animals that drank or bathed in a nearby lake might have carried the diatoms — on feathers, feet or fur — to the glacier, or to the small ponds that can form on the ice during warmer periods. When the temperature drops, it traps the diatoms in an icy tomb, he said. Although not as abundant, the researchers also found diatoms from global dust in the ice. However, these diatoms were so excellently preserved that it is unlikely they had traveled very far, the researchers said. The core that the researchers analyzed was taken from around 480 feet deep (140 meters), and included ice that was deposited over a span of almost 2,000 years. The oldest diatoms found in the ice dated to the dawn of the Middle Ages, during the sixth century, and the younger diatoms dated to the later Middle Ages, during the 12th Century. Lonnie Thompson, a professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University and an expert on ice core paleoclimatology, collected the Quelccaya Ice Cap samples in 2003. The discovery of the diatoms in the ice shows that tropical glaciers have potential for researchers to investigate "how not just diatoms, but other life forms such as ancient microbes survived, thrived and evolved under extreme conditions and under very different climatic regimes," he said in a statement. Fritz said she was concerned about the rapid climate change-induced melting of the ice cap, and the implications of this for the local people who depend on the ice for water, as well as future paleo-environment research. She said that the ice is "very hard-won, and there's not much of it." The study was published in May in the journal Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research. Read more at: http://www.livescience.com/51132-ancient-algae-tropical-ice-cap.html

The streets were paved with algae: a greener material?

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Algae for asphalt The process of surfacing a road isn’t complicated. Layers of asphalt, which is composed mostly of bitumen (a byproduct of crude oil distillation), are poured over an aggregate of crushed stone and sand; the asphalt acts as a glue, binding the mixture together to form asphalt concrete. Maintaining the roads, however, is a costly job. According to the Asphalt Industry Alliance it would cost more than £12bn to restore all road networks in England alone to a reasonable condition. Simon Hesp, a professor and chemical engineer at Queen’s University in Ontario, believes standard industry asphalt is not sustainable. “The problem with the composition is that it’s poorly controlled … it uses materials with poor performances,” he says. Hesp says the presence of certain oil residues lowers the quality of the concrete and is a key reason why roads are failing and many potholes need to be filled and cracks fixed. But there’s not just a maintenance cost. Asphalt, dependent as it is on the oil industry, is resource- and energy-intensive, which is why the race is on to develop a greener alternative. In Sydney an experiment is under way using printer toner waste blended with recycled oil to produce an environmentally friendly asphalt. And in the past few years there have been studies into the development of non-petroleum bioasphalts. At Washington State University researchers developed asphalt from cooking oil, and last year academics at Wageningen University in the Netherlands found that lignin – a natural substance found in plants and trees – is another suitable replacement for crude oil bitumen. Other investigations have looked into the use of soybean and canola oil (rapeseed oil) and coffee grounds. The WSU research, led by Haifang Wen and published at the end of 2013, concluded that the introduction of cooking oil can increase bioasphalt’s resistance to cracking . Wenn also claims it’s possible that, if commercialised, such bioasphalts could cost much less per tonne. The price of standard asphalt can fluctuate wildly as it’s dependent on the price of oil. Hesp isn’t convinced that cooking oil is the way forward. He says, like petroleum, over time it will cause roads to fail because of weak bonds. Bruno Bujoli, director of research at CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), agrees that the use of cooking oil “chemically modified to reach appropriate mechanical properties” could significantly affect quality. He also sounds a note of caution about food security, saying that asphalt based on vegetable oils could, if scaled up, affect food stocks Bujoli recently played a key role in developing a bioasphalt from microalgae. It uses a process known as hydrothermal liquefaction, which is used to convert waste biomass, including wood and sewage, into biocrude oil. The chemical composition of the microalgae bioasphalt differs from petroleum-derived asphalt, but initial tests have concluded that it also bears similar viscous properties and can bind aggregates together efficiently, as well as being able to cope with loads such as vehicles. How it will perform over time is yet to be determined. The findings were published in April. Green roads Bujoli suggests that microalgae – also known for its use in the production of cosmetic and textile dyes – is a greener and more appropriate solution than agricultural oils. The latter, he says, should be kept for food production. “The benefits of microalgae over other sources include low competition for arable land, high per hectare biomass yields and large harvesting turnovers. There is also the opportunity to recycle wastewater and carbon dioxide as a way of contributing to sustainable development,” he adds. It’s a neat idea, with an admirable green mission behind it, but how much of an impact can it really have? Technology such as this is still in its infancy, suggests Heather Dylla, director of sustainable engineering at the National Asphalt Pavement Association, a US trade organisation for the paving industry. “A lot of interesting work is being done in this area, looking at everything from algae, to swine waste, to byproducts from paper making. It’s worth exploring these alternatives, but we need to be sure they provide equivalent or improved engineering properties. We need to understand how they affect the recyclability of asphalt pavement mixtures,” she says. She points to the “unique” advantage of asphalt when it comes to recycling. “Not only are the aggregates, which make up about 95% of [asphalt concrete], put back to use, but the bitumen can also be reactivated and used again as the glue that holds a pavement together.” Microalgae could yet put the paving industry on the road to a greener future. For now though, there are plenty of challenges – from price to scalability – for Bujoli and his team to address if the bioasphalt is to be commercialised. “This is our research focus for the near future. Our current laboratory equipment works in a batch mode,” explains Bujoli. “Scaling up the process will require the design of a large-volume reactor that can operate under continuous flow conditions.” Read more at: http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/jun/08/from-oil-to-algae-eco-friendly-asphalt-could-be-the-route-to-greener-roads

Tara Oceans studies plankton at planetary scale

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The ocean is the largest ecosystem on Earth, and yet we know very little about it. This is particularly true for the plankton that inhabit the ocean. Although these organisms are at least as important for the Earth system as the rainforests and form the base of marine food webs, most plankton are invisible to the naked eye and thus are largely uncharacterized. To study this invisible world, the multinational TaraOceans consortium, with use of the 110-foot research schooner Tara, sampled microscopic plankton at 210 sites and depths up to 2000 m in all the major oceanic regions during expeditions from 2009 through 2013 (1).   Research schooner Tara supported a multinational team in sampling plankton ecosystems around the world Research schooner Tara supported a multinational, multidisciplinary team in sampling plankton ecosystems around the world.

Success depended on collaboration between scientists and the TaraExpeditions logistics team. The journey involved not only science but also outreach and education as well as negotiation through the shoals of legal and political regulations, funding uncertainties, threats from pirates, and unpredictable weather (2). At various times, journalists, artists, and teachers were also on board. Visitors included Ban Ki-moon (Secretary-General of the United Nations) and numerous youngsters, including schoolchildren from the favelas in Rio de Janeiro. Sampling, usually 60 hours per site, followed standardized protocols (3) to capture the morphological and genetic diversity of the entire plankton community from viruses to small zooplankton, covering a size range from 0.02 µm to a few millimeters, in context with physical and chemical information. Besides the sampling, a lab on board contained a range of online instruments and microscopes to monitor the content of the samples as they were being collected. The main focus was on the organism-rich sunlit upper layer of the ocean (down to 200 m), but the twilight zone below was also sampled. Guided by satellite and in situ data, scientists sampled features such as mesoscale eddies, upwellings, acidic waters, and anaerobic zones, frequently in the open ocean. In addition to being used for genomics and oceanography, many samples were collected for other analyses, such as high-throughput microscopy imaging and flow cytometry. The samples and data collected on board were archived in a highly structured way to enable extensive data processing and integration on land (4). The five Research Articles in this issue of Science describe the samples, data, and analysis from TaraOceans (based on a data freeze from 579 samples at 75 stations as of November 2013). De Vargas et al. used ribosomal RNA gene sequences to profile eukaryotic diversity in the photic zone. This taxonomic census shows that most biodiversity belongs to poorly known lineages of uncultured heterotrophic single-celled protists. Sunagawa et al. used metagenomics to study viruses, prokaryotes, and picoeukaryotes. They established a catalog with >40 million genes and identified temperature as the driver of photic microbial community composition. Brum et al., by sequencing and electron microscopy, found that viruses are diverse on a regional basis but less so on a global basis. The viral communities are passively transported by oceanic currents and structured by local environments. Lima-Mendez et al. modeled interactions between viruses, prokaryotes, and eukaryotes. Regional and global parameters refine resulting networks. Villar et al. studied the dispersal of plankton as oceanic currents swirl around the southern tip of Africa, where the Agulhas rings are generated. Vertical mixing in the rings drives nitrogen cycling and selects for specific organisms. The Tara Ocean project collected water samples around the globe and cataloged the diversity of plankton living the oceans. Some plankton collected in the Pacific Ocean with a mesh net that was a tenth of a millimeter. This is a mxiture of small zooplanktonic animals, larvae, and single cell protists. Tara Oceans combined ecology, systems biology, and oceanography to study plankton in their environmental context. The project has generated resources such as an ocean microbial reference gene catalog; a census of plankton diversity covering viruses, prokaryotes, and eukaryotes; and methodologies to explore interactions between them and their integration with environmental conditions. Although many more such analyses will follow, life in the ocean is already a little less murky than it was before. Read more at: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/348/6237/873.full http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/22/science/scientists-sample-the-ocean-and-find-tiny-additions-to-the-tree-of-life.html?_r=1#

The Future of Algae

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In the future, green buildings may actually be green. A gazebo, unveiled this month at the Expo 2015 world’s fair in Milan, demonstrates how algae-filled plastic could serve as a living “skin” for buildings. “This technology is really quite exciting for us because this is the first time we’ve got it to this scale,” says Marco Poletto, co-founder of ecoLogicStudio, the London architecture and urban design firm that created the 430-square-foot gazebo. EcoLogicStudio calls the project the Urban Algae Folly, playing with the traditional meaning of “folly” as an extravagant garden structure. The gazebo is made of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), a transparent plastic building material most famously used in the Water Cube aquatics center built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The ETFE’s hollow interior is filled with water and spirulina, a type of algae often used as a dietary supplement. The growth of the algae will depend on sunlight and temperature, as well as on input from digital sensors that detect the presence of people and change the algae flows to create different patterns. The more sun, the more the algae will grow and darken the gazebo, providing shade for the people beneath. Urban Algae 1 A portion of the algae will be harvested every week or two to use as food; in the future, similar structures could contain different types of algae to be used as biofuels. Algae are also highly efficient at absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen—though trees get all the love, algae and other marine plants make 70 percent of the world’s oxygen. The folly produces about 4.4 pounds of oxygen per day, Poletto says, enough oxygen for three adults in that time. And the structure can suck about 8.8 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air per day, he adds. A single tree absorbs only about .132 pounds each day, or about 48 pounds of carbon dioxide in a whole year. The gazebo is part of the Future Food District in the Expo, an area of the fair dedicated to new food technologies. Advocates of spirulina, which is high in protein but rather bland, hope it might one day be a sustainable meat substitute. Today, spirulina is mostly used as a dietary supplement, added in powdered form to juices or shakes. “Many see it as an urban food of the future,” Poletto says. The team at ecoLogicStudio has been working on the technology for six years. They’ve consulted with a network of experts, including microbiologists, agronomists, ETFE manufacturers and computer systems engineers. Currently, the ETFE-algae structures cost about 1,200 euros (about $1,308) to build, though the price will likely drop as the technology advances. Poletto hopes to implement the technology on a much larger scale in the future. Ultimately, entire buildings could be clad in algae-filled ETFE. These green “skins” would provide shade, give off oxygen and produce food or biofuel. EcoLogicStudio has created a digital rendering of a multi-story building; Poletto says they’re in talks with various partners to make this a reality down the road. “[The Folly] is significant because the material technology that it utilizes is fit for large and permanent architectural scenarios,” Poletto says. “This is the world first ETFE living and productive architectural skin. Now we only need investors with the vision to roll this out on a larger scale.” Poletto and his collaborators plan to observe visitors interacting with the gazebo during the six months it’s on display at the Milan Expo. They then plan to take what they’ve learned and incorporate it into future designs. There is some precedent for algae architecture. The Bio Intelligent Quotient house, built in 2013 in the German city of Hamburg, is covered with 129 algae-filled glass bioreactors—an exterior that cost $6.58 million. On sunny days, the algae’s growth can generate enough heat to warm the building’s floors and water. The algae is harvested once a week and taken to a nearby university to be converted into biofuel. Unfortunately the tanks make loud, rhythmic pumping noises, annoying some tenants. Urban Algae 2 Algae have also been used in a number of other recent urban innovations. French biochemist Pierre Calleja created a prototype for a “smog-eating” algae street lamp, which uses bioluminescent microalgae to light streets while absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. Last year, the Cloud Collective, a French and Dutch design group, built an algae “garden” in transparent tubes mounted to the side of a Geneva highway overpass. Rooftop spirulina farming has recently taken off in Bangkok as a form of urban food security. Though these projects have shown promise and generated interest, the lack of larger scale implementation suggests the technology has a ways to go before “pond scum green” replaces concrete gray as the color of our cities. Poletto estimates buildings with algae façades will be common in the next five years.   Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/will-buildings-future-be-cloaked-algae-180955396/#uBIzXgMsP3PH59wX.99

Healthy Algae Bread

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Portugal Press reports that, in a bid to make truly healthy and tasty bread, a group of Portuguese researchers have come up with a recipe that calls for no salt, using algae instead as a taste enhancer. The project was developed by the Marine Resources Research Group (GIRM) from the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria and is now being supported by the Mais Centro programme and the borough council of Peniche. pao_de_algas 1 The bread, named ‘Pão D’Algas’, is already being sold by bread company Calé in the stores it owns in Peniche and Caldas da Rainha, but the long-term goal is to expand to the rest of the country. “The idea came when we decided to find new ways to use sea algae,” Susana Mendes, the coordinator of the project, told online news portal Boas Notícias. She added that the algae bread can be a good alternative for people who are looking to cut down on salt as it is “just as tasty” and is a “good antioxidant”. According to the news portal, excessive salt consumption is one of the main causes behind the Portuguese problem of many people with high blood pressure. Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that Portuguese people on average consume twice the recommended intake of salt. pao d algas   Source: http://www.algaeindustrymagazine.com/researchers-create-healthy-algae-bread/

Natural Products from Marine Organisms

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Marine dinoflagellates are a diverse group of algae. These microalgae are perhaps most well recognized via articles in the popular press related 'harmful algal blooms', but there are many dinoflagellates that do not produce these harmful or toxic blooms.  All dinoflagellates however share the trait of being 'mesokaryotic' - that means their nucleus and nucleus division pattern lies somewhere between that of a prokaryote and a eukaryote. In addition, the dinoflagellate genome is large up to 100x that of the human genome. This large genome harbors a great deal of information, and thus dinoflagellates are an interesting group of algae to explore in terms of potential for high value natural products.  They produce characteristic sterols, some of which are well known for their medicinal qualities (e.g., beta-sitosterol).  The toxins they produce, as well as other sterols have been shown to have strong anti-fungal properties.  This antifungal activity appears to derive from the disruption of cell membranes which increases permeability and thus compromises the fungal cell - a significant change from the 'chemical death' compounds previously used as antifungals. Continued advances in high throughput screening coupled with diverse living libraries of marine microbial plankton collections present a truly unique opportunity to advance our diverse  'catalog' of bioactive compounds, beyond where we've been able to go through screening more common marine sources such as sponges and macroalgae. fmars-01-00012-g001                   Figure 1. Natural products from marine organisms with significant activity against fungal strains of health and economic relevance. They can be found in marine-derived bacteria (A–Gageosatins C, a linear lipopeptide), fungi (B–Fusarielin E, a fusaricidin derivative), dinoflagellates (C–Goniodomin A, a polyether macrolide compound), red alga (D–Aldehyde derivative (E)-2-{(E) tridec-2-en-2-yl} heptadec-2-enal), sponge (E–Curcuphenol and Curcudiol), sea cucumbers (F–Holothurin B, a triterpenic glycoside), macroalga (G–Cycloartan-3,23,29-triol 3,29-disodium sulfate; a sulfate-conjugated Triterpenoid) and fungal strains within other species (H–diketopiperazine derivative produced by fungal M-3 strains within phylumAscomycota, isolated from marine red algae Porphyra yezoensis) among others. You can read the complete article at: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fmars.2014.00012/full

Bioluminescence: Study uses algal cells to ‘shed light’ on sensing mechanical forces

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Algae are known to congregate and bloom in massive numbers, covering patches of the ocean in thick red and brown blotches. Some of these “red tide” events create dazzling nighttime light shows of blue-green bioluminescence resulting from the force generated by breaking waves. While many mysteries remain on how such red tide blooms emerge, marine biologists are now making progress in decoding the mechanisms that trigger the effect of bioluminescence. Bioluminescense Algae 1 Marine biologist Michael Latz from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has been studying bioluminescence for more than 30 years and is now zeroing in on the forces that flick the “on” switch for bioluminescencent flashes in single-celled algae known as dinoflagellates. Dinoflagellates employ bioluminescence as a defense mechanism. They use the bright flash to ward off potential predators as well as call attention to the predators of their predators as a type of alarm. Dinoflagellates are equipped with an extremely fast response to stimuli, with bioluminescence produced only 15 milliseconds after stimulation. In a study recently featured on the cover and blog of Biophysical Journal, Latz and former Scripps postdoctoral researcher Benoit Tesson employed a state-of-the-art laboratory instrument called an atomic force microscope to study the force sensitivity of dinoflagellates with unprecedented resolution. They set out to measure the exact forces that trigger light production inside dinoflagellate cells, setting the specifications for the atomic force microscope, in which a calibrated lever was used to apply precisely controlled forces on individual dinoflagellate cells. Such diligence paid off, as the results identified the force conditions that were required to trigger the light. Cells responded to a minimum force of seven micronewtons, which, according to U.S. Navy physicist Jim Rohr, who is familiar with the study, is equivalent to the “weight of an ant resting on your skin.” natureslight_web-Tesson and Latz Bioluminescence             Most interesting, the researchers say, was that if the same level of force was applied slowly, there was no response. The difference was due to the mechanical properties of the cells. According to a model they developed, at low stimulation speed the resulting energy was dissipated while at high speed energy was able to build up. “It is like the difference between pushing and punching; for the same applied force, at high speeds a deformable material acts stiffer and the shock is stronger,” said Tesson. The results will contribute to the use of dinoflagellate bioluminescence as a tool in engineering and oceanography to visualize flows that are difficult to study otherwise. As Leonardo da Vinci used grass seeds to observe water flow more than 500 years ago, scientists today use bioluminescence to naturally “light up” flow forces associated with jet turbulence, breaking waves, and the swimming movements of dolphins. Knowing the precise trigger point of light emission will aid studies in which bioluminescence is used to study flow forces. “Cells are sophicated integrators of the forces in their environment,” said Latz. “With these results we further our understanding of how the structural properties of these organisms affect their force sensitivity, and how force sensing evolved, because the system appears to have conserved elements that are used in force sensing by higher organisms, including humans.” So the next time you see how the red tide sparkles at night, Latz says, you can think of the algae as little force-sensing machines. The U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative, National Science Foundation, and UC San Diego Academic Senate funded the research. Use of the atomic force microscope was provided by Scripps Oceanography marine biologist Mark Hildebrand.   Sources: http://news.algaeworld.org/2015/05/the-force-behind-bioluminescence-study-uses-algal-cells-to-shed-light-on-sensing-mechanical-forces/ http://www.cell.com/biophysj/abstract/S0006-3495(15)00169-1  

Plasticity: A Unique Event Focusing on Upstream Solutions to the Plastic Pollution Issue

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Solaplast will be represented this year at the Plasticity Forum in Portugal to discuss how bioplastic solutions can make a positive impact on our environment. IMG_3595 IMG_3596 IMG_3597 IMG_3598

Threatened reef-building corals have diverse symbiotic algae partners, UGA study finds

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Mountainous-Star-Coral-230x207Athens, Ga. - Continued University of Georgia research on the threatened Caribbean reef-building coral, Orbicella faveolata, finds that latitudinal patterns play a key role in the type of symbiotic algae that the coral associates with. The findings, recently published in the journal Coral Reefs, may have implications for future management practices in the face of increasing environmental stressors. Reef-building corals harbor tiny plantlike algae inside of their bodies. These symbiotic algae gather energy from the sun and manufacture sugars that feed the coral, enabling coral reefs to grow and thrive in nutrient-poor waters. Orbicella faveolata, also known as mountainous star coral, is a common, but increasingly threatened, species of reef-building coral that is widely distributed throughout the Caribbean. Like most reef corals, Orbicella faveolata forms a symbiosis with algae; however, what makes this species of coral so unusual is its association with multiple types of photosynthetic symbiotic algae, depending on where it lives. This study found the diversity of symbiotic algae that interact with the mountainous star coral is geographically specific. This means that the corals found in Florida have different species of algae than the corals in Belize, Mexico and the Bahamas, according to Dustin Kemp, a postdoctoral research associate in the UGA Odum School of Ecology who led the study. Kemp took multiple within-coral colony samples from different geographic regions to get a fine-scale understanding of the variation of symbiotic algae that exists on them. "We think that local environmental conditions are predictive of which species of coral and their algae that we will find in a particular region," said Daniel Thornhill, an affiliated faculty member at Auburn University and a UGA alumnus, who co-authored the study. "Environmental conditions are relevant because specific host-symbiont combinations depend on where the coral lives. These symbioses are the result of long-term ecological and evolutionary processes," Kemp said. "If you go into the tropics—Mexico and Belize—there may be several species of algae within one coral, but if you're in a subtropical area—Florida Keys—there are far fewer," Thornhill said. Study authors found that, depending on the species of algae and the water temperature where the coral lives, some are more susceptible to climate change and other environmental threats. The coral reef's latitudinal patterns uncovered in this research explain their algae association, which determines their susceptibility. "This suggests that different corals may be affected differently by climate change. Understanding coral-algal symbiosis is an important piece of the puzzle for understanding the broad reaching effects that climate change has on coral reef ecosystems," Kemp said. "Some types (of symbiotic algae) are more susceptible to thermal stressors, making the coral more susceptible to coral bleaching, a stress response of turning white due to the loss of symbiotic algae." Thornhill added, "Coral reef managers should consider how these corals might respond to climate change. I think regionally specific types of management would be appropriate." Additional co-authors include Randi Rotjan, New England Aquarium; Roberto Iglesias-Prieto, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México; William Fitt, UGA Odum School of Ecology; and Gregory Schmidt, UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Support for the research came from the National Science Foundation and the World Bank. The study, "Spatially distinct and regionally endemic Symbiodinium assemblages in the threatened Caribbean reef-building coral Orbicella faveolata," is available at http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00338-015-1277-z.   Source: http://news.uga.edu/releases/article/reef-building-corals-diverse-symbiotic-algae-partners-0515/

3D Fuel & ALGIX Celebrate Earth Day by Introducing Revolutionary Algae Based 3D Printer Filament & Joint Venture

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3D Fuel Logo 3D Fuel, a manufacturer of 3D printer filament, just announced the launch of its algae based 3D Printer filament through a Joint Venture (JV) with ALGIX, LLC.  ALGIX is a clean technology company that produces sustainable plastic products utilizing algae from aquaculture and water treatment technologies. "Our Joint Venture with ALGIX opens an entirely new realm of possibilities for us and the 3D Printing market. We are producing high quality filaments, exceeding the typical industry standard. With our efforts being focused on environmental friendliness, some of the exciting product lines we will be introducing to the market in the coming months have the ability to completely change how users of 3D Printers view their printing materials and their impact on the environment. We are positioned to become the company that is not only setting the standards of quality for printer filaments but setting the standards in how those materials impact the world we live in." says 3D-Fuel co-founder Matthew Stegall.

ALGIX, which is a leader in producing sustainable bio-plastic composites, is equally excited about its JV partnership with 3D Fuel in producing a more environmentally friendly 3D printer filament.  "We saw 3D Fuel as an emerging leader in this industry who wanted to add a more earth friendly filament to its core product offering, which we are able to provide through our Solaplast algae filament and sustainable business practices," says Michael Van Drunen, C.E.O. of ALGIX. "Both companies commitment to excellence in both manufacturing and research and development was a clear indicator that our Joint Venture would be a huge success. With our core values being very synergistic, we know our customers will see the difference in not just our product offerings, but the principles in our business practices that we bring to the 3D printing market."

3D Fuel recently revealed one of its most innovative products to date, Fuel In a Box™. "We are very excited about our trademarked Fuel in a Box™ product," says Stegall. "We wanted to create a first to market product that helped fuel people's creativity in a convenient and productive way.  There's nothing worse than having to change out filament in the middle of your printing project.  Now you can use a continuous run of filament from a 5 or 20 kg dispensing box."

One of the things that allows 3D Fuel to stand out among its competitors, besides the innovative products it produces, is its manufacturing process.  3D Fuel uses the purest and highest quality raw materials for its filament.  "What sets 3D Fuel apart is our background in custom compounding and years of experience with filled polymers in the plastics industry," says Ashton Zeller, Director of Research and Development. "This experience lends us to a higher degree of filament testing, which in turn delivers unmatched quality to our customers."

Ryan Hunt, CTO of ALGIX states, "3D Fuel is leveraging the vertically integrated manufacturing capabilities of ALGIX including biomass processing, micronization, compounding, filament extrusion and logistics. This allows us to rapidly innovate by taking ideas to end products in a short period of time." While developing innovative products and manufacturing the highest quality filament is 3D Fuel's top priority, it remains poised to become an industry leader and proponent of sustainable products and services that are important to the entire industry.  Recently, 3D Fuel invited GreenDisk and reShootz to become part of this focus using their recycled material line. "Our mission is to create a synergistic group of like-minded and sustainability focused firms called the Green Alliance whose core competencies include biodegradability, recyclability and sustainable business practices," says Stegall.

3D printing technology is still in its infancy stage and is a dynamic market, but 3D Fuel is committed to growing and responding to this dynamic nature of the industry.  "We remain committed to our clients, consumers and to the environment as we grow and expand our business model," says Steve Gall, 3D Fuel Co-Founder.  "We fully understand that things change quickly in this industry and that we need to be responsive to new technologies and products that impact our business.  At the same time we'll continue to manufacture innovative 3D printer fuels and set unprecedented industry standards for quality and excellence."  3D Fuel's manufacturing facility is located in Meridian, Mississippi.

It comes as no surprise that both 3D Fuel and Algix are committed to Life Cycle Thinking in order to produce more with less.  3D Fuel's new 3D Printer filament lines, coupled with its superior manufacturing processes, will provide at home 3D printing enthusiasts, small scale manufacturers, artisans, designers, engineers and educators piece of mind knowing they are purchasing products from a company that is dedicated to producing high quality filament that has been produced by a sustainably-minded company. If you're ready to fuel your creativity with an innovative and earth friendly 3D printing filament, head over to http://www.3dfuel.com and place your pre-order now or call 657-3DFUEL1 (657-333-8351).


If you're interested in learning about ALGIX, Solaplast or Life Cycle Thinking and sustainably-focused practices, please visit http://www.algix.com.

Also, check out ALGIX and 3D Fuel on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Please participate in our "Green is my favorite color" video campaign by telling us why sustainability is important to you. You can then post your video on your personal social media accounts and submit your video to green@algix.com. Remember to use #greenismyfavoritecolor #algix #3dfuel

To view this video on YouTube, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yfBMXw1NpQ

Media Contact: Barbara Gaston Zeller, ALGIX, LLC, 1-877-972-5449, barbara.zeller@algix.com

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