Eutrophication affects diversity of algae

Oct 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: No-take marine reserves a no-win for seahorses

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A thirst for blood sparks toxic algal blooms

Jun 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 a ...

International experts weigh-in on harmful algal blooms

Jan 06, 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) ...

DNA tests could help predict, prevent harmful algal blooms

Sep 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 ...

Recommended for you

An uphill climb for mountain species?

3 hours ago

A recently published paper provides a history of scientific research on mountain ecosystems, looks at the issues threatening wildlife in these systems, and sets an agenda for biodiversity conservation throughout ...

Extinctions during human era worse than thought

4 hours ago

It's hard to comprehend how bad the current rate of species extinction around the world has become without knowing what it was before people came along. The newest estimate is that the pre-human rate was ...

Robotics to combat slimy pest

8 hours ago

One hundred years after they arrived in a sack of grain, white Italian snails are the target of beleaguered South Australian farmers who have joined forces with University of Sydney robotics experts to eradicate ...

Migratory fish scale to new heights

9 hours ago

WA scientists are the first to observe and document juvenile trout minnow (Galaxias truttaceus Valenciennes 1846) successfully negotiating a vertical weir wall by modifying their swimming technique to 'climb' ...

User comments : 0