Eutrophication affects diversity of algae

October 19, 2009
Phytoplankton provide the basis for the whole marine food chain. Credit: University of Gothenburg

Eutrophication of the seas may have an impact on genetic variation in algae, research at the University of Gothenburg shows.

Phytoplankton provide the basis for the whole . These microscopic organisms are common in coastal areas, all the way from the polar regions to the Equator, and multiply through cell division. If cells are present in the water mass in large numbers an algal blood develops - a recurrent problem in Swedish seas and along Swedish coasts.

Causes of algal blooms

Researchers at the Department of Marine Ecology of the University of Gothenburg have long been interested in the development and causes of algal blooms. The doctoral student Karolina Härnström has focused in her thesis on diatoms, which are the largest single group of phytoplankton, and their occurrence in the eutrophicated Mariager Fjord in Jutland. The results show that different populations of a diatom species may have different growth and adaptability characteristics, and that the genetic variation of the algae may possibly be affected by eutrophication: the researchers found different types of populations during periods of heavy eutrophication in Mariager Fjord.

Little is known

"We know surprisingly little about the ecology of diatoms, about where the that give rise to blooms come from and whether it is the same populations that recurrently bloom in a particular location or whether it differs between seasons. My research may contribute to answering these questions, and perhaps increase knowledge of how are affected by environmental changes and how the population dynamics of these appears in a microevolutionary perspective," says Härnström.

Source: University of Gothenburg (news : web)

Explore further: Domoic acid from toxic algal blooms may cause seizures in California sea lions

Related Stories

DNA tests could help predict, prevent harmful algal blooms

September 30, 2008

A paper published in the current issue of the International Journal of Environment and Pollution, explains how a DNA test can be used to detect harmful algal blooms across the globe. The approach outlined could help reduce ...

International experts weigh-in on harmful algal blooms

January 6, 2009

Cambridge, Md. - An international group of scientists is linking nutrient pollution in the world's coastal seas to an increase in the number of harmful algal blooms reported in recent years. When harmful algal blooms (HAB's) ...

A thirst for blood sparks toxic algal blooms

June 30, 2009

The blooming of toxic algae that occurs during the summer conceal a fight for life and death. Scientists at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, propose in an article published in the journal PNAS that algal blooms are created ...

Recommended for you

Research advances on transplant ward pathogen

August 28, 2015

The fungus Cryptococcus causes meningitis, a brain disease that kills about 1 million people each year—mainly those with impaired immune systems due to AIDS, cancer treatment or an organ transplant. It's difficult to treat ...

Genomes uncover life's early history

August 24, 2015

A University of Manchester scientist is part of a team which has carried out one of the biggest ever analyses of genomes on life of all forms.

Rare nautilus sighted for the first time in three decades

August 25, 2015

In early August, biologist Peter Ward returned from the South Pacific with news that he encountered an old friend, one he hadn't seen in over three decades. The University of Washington professor had seen what he considers ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.