Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nanoscopic look at an estuary's green algae

Date:
June 27, 2012
Source:
Elhuyar Fundazioa
Summary:
The pico is a very small unit, even smaller than the nano as it is the equivalent of 10-12. A biologists has been studying green algae of this imperceptible size in the Bilbao estuary, paying particular attention to the area beyond the Nervión estuary. This has enabled him to identify six genera and eleven nano- and picoplanktonic species that until now had not been catalogued in these waters.

The pico is a very small unit, even smaller than the nano as it is the equivalent of 10-12. The biologist Aitor Alonso has devoted himself to studying green algae of this imperceptible size in the Bilbao estuary, paying particular attention to the area beyond the Nervión estuary. This has enabled him to identify six genera and eleven nano- and picoplanktonic species that until now had not been catalogued in these waters. He has also put forward some measures designed to optimize the methodology to be applied to these analyses.

His thesis, defended at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), is entitled Algas verdes en el picoplancton y nanoplancton del estuario del río Nervión (Golfo de Vizcaya) (Green algae in the picoplankton and nanoplankton in the estuary of the river Nervión (Bay of Biscay).

All the algae contain chlorophyll A, but it is chlorophyll B that characterises green algae and gives them their pigment. "They have been used for producing biofuels, for treating sewage, etc. Research has also been done on them in the quest for products for the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries," says Alonso. But the practical applications of the green algae were not the starting point of this research, rather their extremely high relative presence among the smallest organisms in the Nervión estuary. "There is an abundance of them among the smallest algae in the plankton, in other words, picoplankton. Most of what can be found of that size, apart from bacteria, are green algae." So his main aim was to find out a little more about this specific diversity. Data like, for example, that the most abundant green algae belong to the chlorophyta division, which dominate in the outer part of this estuary during the summer.

Species and the TSA-FISH technique

The samples collected by Alonso between 2007 and 2010 have been used to isolate and analyse 26 algae strains from the estuary of the Nervión and other nearby ones. "We knew the green algae were a significant group, but not which species it actually consisted of," he explains. On the bases of 26 strains, he has been able to identity in his research six genera and eleven species: Eutreptiella (E. eupharyngeae and E. gymnastica), Mamiella (M. gilva), Nephroselmis (N. pyriformis), Pyramimonas (P. orientalis, P. moestrupii, P. grossii, P. robusta and P. propulsa), Oltmannsiellopsis (O. unicellularis and O. viridis) and cf. Chlamydomonas.

Alonso's main aim was to put a name to the species comprising the community of green algae in the estuary of Bilbao, but the path covered to achieve this has also been a significant contribution of this thesis. Studying organisms of such a tiny fraction like the picoplankton is complicated, and in this case the combination of three techniques was chosen: epifluorescence (an advanced alternative to the conventional optical microscope), flow cytometry (used to classify and count the cells that are found in fluids), and the TSA-FISH technique (which expands -- more than other techniques -- the fluorescent signals that work as algal markers, thus increasing sensitivity and facilitating analysis). The researcher has put forward a number of proposals to improve the performance of these techniques and to make a correct interpretation of the results obtained through them.

Alonso has concentrated, above all, on the problems of and possible solutions to the application of Tyramide Signal Amplification (TSA)-FISH. He concludes that in order to make the fitoplankton count as universal as possible, a protocol based on this technique needs to meet certain premises. For example, as the TSA-FISH has difficulties when it comes to doing the sample count, he recommends using flow cytometry for this task. The research also revealed shortcomings in the permeability of certain cultures analysed; that could lead to the importance of one or more microalgae groups, which could be in fact significant in the community, being overlooked. In order to avoid this problem, the proposal is to use an extra permeation through enzymatic treatment. With these measures TSA-FISH would allow a simple, quantitative, precise and reliable measurement to be made in addition to the monitoring of the phytoplanktonic populations.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elhuyar Fundazioa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Elhuyar Fundazioa. "Nanoscopic look at an estuary's green algae." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120627091759.htm>.
Elhuyar Fundazioa. (2012, June 27). Nanoscopic look at an estuary's green algae. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120627091759.htm
Elhuyar Fundazioa. "Nanoscopic look at an estuary's green algae." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120627091759.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pyrenees Orphan Bear Cub Gets Brand New Home

Pyrenees Orphan Bear Cub Gets Brand New Home

AFP (Aug. 1, 2014) — The discovery of a bear cub in the Pyrenees mountains made headlines in April 2014. Despire several attempts to find the animal's mother, the cub remained alone. Now, the Pyrenees Conservation Foundation has constructed an enclosure. Duration: 00:31 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) — Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) — Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) — Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins