Category Archives: Gardening

Cyanobacteria & Algae description and types

Cyanobacteria is a bacteria; it is not algae. It was once considered algae but it has been reclassified based on recent research. This is why it is also called Blue Green Algae. I found some information that explains the differences between dinoflagellates, cyanobacteria, and algae. I was getting confused so this should help clarify things. Click here for the source or read an excerpt below.



The word algae represents a large group of different organisms from different phylogenetic groups, representing many taxonomic divisions. In general algae can be referred to as plant-like organisms that are usually photosynthetic and aguatic, but do not have true roots, stems, leaves, vascular tissue and have simple reproductive structures. They are distributed worldwide in the sea, in freshwater and in moist situations on land. Most are microscopic, but some are quite large, e.g. some marine seaweeds that can exceed 50 m in length.
The algae have chlorophyll and can manufacture their own food through the process of photosynthesis. Recently they are classified in the kingdom of protiste, which comprise a variety of unicellular and some simple multinuclear and multicellular eukaryotic organisms that have cells with a membrane-bound nucleus.
Almost all the algae are eukaryotes and conduct photosynthesis within membrane bound structure called chloroplasts, which contain DNA. The exact nature of the chloroplasts is different among the different lines of algae.
Cyanobacteria are organisms traditionally included among the algae, but they have a prokaryotic cell structure typical of bacteria and conduct photosynthesis directly within the cytoplasm, rather than in specialized organelles.


Types of algae

The main phylogenetic groups of algae are [1][2]:

  • Diatoms: unicellular organisms of the kingdom protista, characterized by a silica shell of often intricate and beautiful sculpturing. Most diatoms exist singly, although some join to form colonies. They are usually yellowish or brownish, and are found in fresh- and saltwater, in moist soil, and on the moist surface of plants. Fresh-water and marine diatoms appear in greatest abundance early in the year as part of the phenomenon known as the spring bloom, which occurs as a result of the availablity of both light and (winter-regenerated) nutrients. They reproduce asexually by cell division. When aguatic diatoms die they drop to the bottom, and the shells, not being subject to decay, collect in the ooze and eventually form the material known as diatomaceous earth. Diatoms can occur in a more compact form as a soft, chalky, lightweight rock, called diatomite. Diatomite is used as an insulating material against both heat and sound, in making dynamite and other explosives, and for filters, abrasives, and similar products. Diatoms have deposited most of the earth’s limestone, and much petroleum is of diatom origin. The surface mud of a pond, ditch, or lagoon will almost always yield some diatoms.
  • Chlorophyta: division of the kingdom of protista consisting of the photosyntetic organism commonly known as green algae. The various species can be unicellular, multi-cellular, coenocytic (having more than one nucleus in a cell), or colonial. Chlorophyta are largely aguatic or marine, a few types are terrestrial, occurring on moist soil, on the trunks of trees, on moist rocks and in snow banks. Various species are highly specialized.
  • Euglenophyta: small phylum of the kingdom protista, consisting of mostly unicellular aguatic algae. Some euglenoids contain chloroplasts with the photosynthetic pigments; others are heterotrophic and can ingest or absorb their food. Reproduction occurs by longitudinal cell division. Most live in freshwater. The most characteristic genus is Euglena, common in ponds and pools, especially when the water has been polluted by runoff from fields or lawns on which fertilizers have been used. There are approximately 1000 species of euglenoids.
  • Dinoflagellata: large group of flagellate protistis. Some species are heterotrophic, but many are photosynthetic organisms containing chlorophyll. Various other pigments may mask the green of these chlorophylls. Other species are endosymbionts of marine animals and protozoa, and play an important part in the biology of coral reefs. Other dinoflagellates are colorless predators on other protozoa, and a few forms are parasitic. Reproduction for most dinoflagellates is asexual, through simple division of cells following mitosis. The dinoflagellates are important constituents of plankton, and as such are primary food sources in warmer oceans. Many forms are phosphorescent; they are largely responsible for the phosphorescence visible at night in tropical seas. There are approximately 2000 species of dinoflagellates.
  • Chrysophyta: large group of eukariotyes algae commonly called golden algae, found mostly in freshwater. Originally they were taken to include all such forms except the diatoms and multicellular brown algae, but since then they have been divided into several different groups based on pigmentation and cell structure. In many chrysophytes the cell walls are composed of cellulose with large quantities of silica. Formerly classified as plants, they contain the photosynthetic pigments chlorophyll a and c. Under some circumstances they will reproduce sexually, but the usual form of reproduction is cell division.
  • Phaeophyta: phylum of the kingdom protista consisting of those organisms commonly called brown algae. Many of the world’s familiar seaweeds are members of phaeophyta. Like the chrysophytes brown algae derive their color from the presence, in the cell chloroplasts, of several brownish carotenoid pigments, as fucoxathin. With only a few exceptions, brown algae are marine, growing in the colder oceans of the world, many in the tidal zone, where they are subjected to great stress from wave action; others grow in deep water. There are approximately 1500 species of phaeophyta.
  • Rhodophyta: phylum of the kingdom protista consisting of the photosynthetic organisms commonly known as red algae. Members of the division have a characteristic clear red or purplish color imparted by accessory pigments called phycobilins. The red algae are multicellular and are characterized by a great deal of branching, but without differentiation into complex tissues. Most of the world’s seaweeds belong to this group. Although red algae are found in all oceans, they are most common in warm-temperate and tropical climates, where they may occur at greater depths than any other photosynthetic organisms. Most of the coralline algae, which secrete calcium carbonate and play a major role in building reefs, belong here. Red algae are a traditional part of oriental cuisine. There are 4000 known marine species of red algae; a few species occur in freshwater.
  • Cyanobacteria: phylum of prokaryotic aguatic bacteria that obtain their energy through photosynthesis. They are often referred to as blue-green algae, even though it is now known that they are not related to any of the other algal groups, which are all eukaryotes. Cyanobacteria may be single-celled or colonial. Depending upon the species and environmental conditions, colonies may form filaments, sheets or even hollow balls. Some filamentous colonies show the ability to differentiate into three different cell types. Despite their name, different species can be red, brown, or yellow; blooms (dense masses on the surface of a body of water) of a red species are said to have given the Red Sea its name. There are two main sorts of pigmentation. Most cyanobacteria contain chlorophyll a, together with various proteins called phycobilins, which give the cells a typical blue-green to grayish-brown colour. A few genera, however, lack phycobilins and have chlorophyll b as well as a, giving them a bright green colour.
    Unlike bacteria, which are heterotrophic decomposers of the wastes and bodies of other organisms, cyanobacteria contain the green pigment chlorophyll (as well as other pigments), which traps the energy of sunlight and enables these organisms to carry on photosynthesis. Cyanobacteria are thus autotrophic producers of their own food from simple raw materials. Nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria need only nitrogen and carbon dioxide to live: they are able to fix nitrogen gas, which cannot be absorbed by plants, into ammonia (NH3), nitrites (NO2) or nitrates (NO3), which can be absorbed by plants and converted to protein and nucleic acids.
    Cyanobacteria are found in almost every conceivable habitat, from oceans to fresh water to bare rock to soil. Cyanobacteria produce the compounds responsible for earthy odors we detect in soil and some bodies of water. The greenish slime on the side of your damp flowerpot, the wall of
    your house or the trunk of that big tree is more likely to be cyanobacteria than anything else. Cyanobacteria have even been found on the fur of polar bears, to which they impart a greenish tinge. In short, Cyanobacteria have no one habitat because you can find them almost anywhere in the world.

Related topics

For more books and reading information see our website:
Eutrophication books overview


Read more:

Asia: Project Surya – Fighting Climate Change Now

This was on Knowledge Network TV tonight and is the first I’ve heard about it.  Click here to learn more or read an excerpt below.


Protecting Water and Food Security

The Glaciers of the Himalayas – Asia’s Water Fountain

BC emissions threaten supplies of water and food for up to 4 billion people worldwide

The Himalayan mountain range has the world’s largest concentration of glaciers outside of the polar ice caps (33,000 km2).  These glaciers feed virtually all of Asia’s major rivers: The Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra, Mekong, Yangtze and Huang Ho rivers all originate in the Himalayas.  The populations of South and East Asian nations thus rely heavily on these glaciers for their water.  This is why some call the Himalayan glaciers the “water fountain of Asia.”

Glacial Retreat: A Threat to Security

Glacial retreat is being accelerated by global warming.  Moreover, black carbon (BC) emissions that enter the atmosphere drop back to earth after a few months, and when that BC lands on glaciers, it darkens them, attracting sunlight and further exacerbating melting.

Progressive retreat of the Gangotri Himalayan glacier 1780-2001

Glacial lakes formed by retreat of glaciers in Bhutan

If that were to happen, the water and food security of up to two-thirds of the world’s population would be imperiled. 


Is Global Warming Making Food Less Nutritious?

I never even thought of this aspect. Wow! This is where I respectully hope the scientists are wrong. Click here to read the whole article.


Billions of people rely on wheat, rice, soybeans and peas for the majority of their zinc and iron intake. But as carbon dioxide increases, those minerals decrease, according to two studies published today in Nature and eLife.

Already a major health concern in the developing world, zinc and iron deficiency increases the risk of anemia, infections and even cognitive problems.

Cyanobacteria: Washington state the center of climate change solutions

I am really not sure about this technology given that we don’t know a whole lot about what it is capable of. Click here for the full article or read an excerpt from their website.


Our synthetic and systems biology approach has led to several game-changing breakthroughs. We’ve engineered strains of cyanobacteria that can both produce high levels of lipids (oils) internally or secrete them externally. We’ve developed tools and the capability to genetically engineer multiple species of cyanobacteria. We’ve profiled the expression and metabolite patterns of multiple strains of cyanobacteria which allow us to unlock regulatory bottlenecks and identify new pathway opportunities.



Cyanobacteria: Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxins: Information for Drinking Water Systems

Excellent information in this article which explains the complexities with the drinking water contaminant Cyanobacteria. Drinking water suppliers must start thinking about infrastructure costs when reviewing their water purification needs. This 7 page document is a must read for everyone. Please share with others. Click here for the original article.

Cyanobacteria: Turning the corner on water problems

Nice summarized article regarding Cyanobacteria. Read below to learn more.



DESPITE the wonderful rain, runoff has been patchy so that some dams have caught little water and the water in these is of poor quality.

That said, the situation has improved substantially since early February.

Of the 32 farmers who responded to the survey, 27 had dry dams on their property.

Overall 35per cent of dams were dry and 46pc were making decisions based on water availability.

Seems that many, while not entirely out of trouble, may have dodged a bullet in regards to water supplies.

I imagine many producers will take this into account as they plan for future dry seasons.

While running out of water is most difficult to handle, others have problems with water quality.

Some dams were and remain brown and turbid while others developed a growth of blue green algae (BGA).

I have submitted a couple of samples of suspect water to the laboratory, with Microcystis, a species of blue green algae, identified.

Of interest, these organisms are actually bacteria (named Cyanobacteria), not algae.

This means that the individual bugs are tiny and so a bloom of BGA looks like green paint on a water course.

The green growth that you can pick up as strands or tiny plants are not Cyanobacteria.

If in doubt please refer to the ever popular ‘What Scum is That,’ which could be mistaken for a social media site but is in fact a publication available on line to help you identify the growth on your dam.

Cyanobacteria can poison stock, either causing sudden death or liver failure.

About this time last year, then district veterinarian based at Condobolin, Kasia Hunter, reported that 40 of 3000 merino weaners died and another 120 showed signs of liver disease when their only source of water was heavily contaminated with blue green algae.

Previously a colleague reported that 28 Hereford cows died within 50 metres of a blue green algae infested dam some years ago.

People and pets are also at risk from BGA.

I read of a tragic case in Brazil, where 75 dialysis patients died from exposure to toxins in dialysis fluids.

While these reports are most concerning, in my experience deaths from blue green algae are rare.

In most cases stock are able to avoid the green scum which usually accumulates on one side of the dam, driven by the wind.

Blue green algae infestations are a threat on public water supplies.

I understand that these can be managed in some situations by creating water turbulence.

Barley straw in a dam is also reputed to suppress BGA while herbicides are an option.

However, blue green algae prefer still, warm water.

With rain and cooler weather, infested dams should now clear without intervention.

It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge that while we regard Cyanobacteria as the scum of the earth now, they are one of the Earth’s oldest life forms, essentially unchanged for three billion years.

Cyanobacteria can photosynthesise and have therefore been releasing oxygen into the atmosphere all this time.

We therefore owe our lives to Cyanobacteria. As if this wasn’t enough of a contribution, it is likely that the small green chloroplast in plants, responsible for photosynthesis, were Cyanobacteria that became incorporated into plants several hundred million years ago.

There must be a moral to this story somewhere.

Final Watts What

THIS will be my last contribution to this column.

Communicating with a wide readership for the last eight years has been a great privilege.

However, with the formation of Local Land Services I have a different job meaning that I cannot maintain this commitment.

I also believe that it is desirable both for our team and for you as readers that you hear from a range of authors to reflect the diverse skills and interests of our new organisation.

With the support of both you as readers and the editor of this publication, we aim to return in the future in a different format.

Until then all the best.

Fukushima’s Radioactive Ocean Water Arrives At W. Coast

This can’t be good for the scallops or our health. I just read this article about 5 minutes ago. Click here for the full story or read an excerpt below.

Radiation from Japan’s leaking Fukushima nuclear power plant has reached waters offshore Canada, researchers said today at the annual American Geophysical Union’s Ocean Sciences Meeting in Honolulu.

Stop Worrying About Fukushima Radiation
Is the Fukushima radiation spreading far, and is there any way to tell if it’s actually from Japan?
Two radioactive cesium isotopes, cesium-134 and cesium-137, have been detected offshore of Vancouver, British Columbia, researchers said at a news conference. The detected concentrations are much lower than the Canadian safety limit for cesium levels in drinking water, said John Smith, a research scientist at Canada’s Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Tests conducted at U.S. beaches indicate that Fukushima radioactivity has not yet reached Washington, California or Hawaii, said Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Woods Hole, Mass.

The Lost Pets of Fukushima: Photos
“We have results from eight locations, and they all have cesium-137, but no cesium-134 yet,” Buesseler said. (Isotopes are atoms of the same element that have different numbers of neutrons in their nuclei. In this case, cesium-137 has more neutrons than cesium-134.)

Cesium signals

The initial nuclear accident from the Fukushima reactors released several radioactive isotopes, such as iodine-131, cesium-134 and cesium-137. Cesium-137 has a half-life of 30 years and remains in the environment for decades. Cesium-134, with a half-life of only two years, is an unequivocal marker of Fukushima ocean contamination, Smith said.

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: Before and After
“The only cesium-134 in the North Pacific is there from Fukushima,” he said. Cesium-137, on the other hand, is also present from nuclear weapons tests and discharge from nuclear power plants.

Smith and his colleagues tracked rising levels of cesium-134 at several ocean monitoring stations west of Vancouver in the North Pacific beginning in 2011. By June 2013, the concentration reached 0.9 Becquerels per cubic meter, Smith said. All of the cesium-134 was concentrated in the upper 325 feet (100 m) of the ocean, he said. They are awaiting results from a February 2014 sampling trip.

The U.S. safety limit for cesium levels in drinking water is about 28 Becquerels, the number of radioactive decay events per second, per gallon (or 7,400 Becquerels per cubic meter). For comparison, uncontaminated seawater contains only a few Becquerels per cubic meter of cesium.

Japan Tsunami Debris Confirmed in California
Cesium-137 levels at U.S. beaches were 1.3 to 1.7 Becquerels per cubic meter, Buesseler said. That’s similar to background levels in the ocean from nuclear weapons testing, suggesting the Fukushima plume has not reached the U.S. coastline yet, he said.

The new monitoring data does not show which of two competing models best predicts the future concentration of Fukushima radiation along the U.S. West Coast, Smith said. These models suggest that radionuclides from Fukushima will begin to arrive on the West Coast in early 2014 and peak in 2016. However, the models differ in their predictions of the peak concentration of cesium — from a low of 2 to a maximum of 27 Becquerels per cubic meter. Both peaks are well below the highest level recorded in the Baltic Sea after Chernobyl, which was 1,000 Becquerels per cubic meter.

“It’s still a little too early to know which one is correct,” Smith said.

Cyanobacteria Fossil: Stromatolites a window into Earth’s history

I think scientists will now be able to use these fossils to study how global warming will impact our world.

I disagree that tides, temperature and sunlight are the only things that control the growth of cyanobacteria because the bacteria have been found in pristine mountain lakes in Switzerland. This 2012 thesis supports my opinion where it states:

“… climate change may increase eutrophication in many water bodies due to
complex interactions with increased amounts of rainfall and snowfall, changes in water
temperature, alterations of mixed layer depth, and changes in species composition to
favor cyanobacteria (Dokulil et al., 2009). Eutrophication remains a challenge to manage
because of the complex interactions of factors that can drive its occurrence in lakes, and
different lakes may have different sensitivities to different factors.”

Click here to read the full article or an excerpt below.

Fossils offer a glimpse of what organisms have lived on Earth, such as woolly mammoths and Tyrannosaurus rex, and most don’t exist today. Some fossils resemble modern-day counterparts, such as ferns and petrified wood, and others have living examples, such as stromatolites.

Stromatolites are structures created by cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae). The internal structure resembles a cabbage while the outside can look mushroom-shaped, loaf-shaped or cauliflower-shaped.

Cyanobacteria create stromatolites by growing in layers in shallow marine water. Cyanobacteria grow in mats with nearly three billion cyanobacteria covering one square meter. As sediment is deposited over the cyanobacteria from tides and wave action, the cyanobacteria grow up through the sediment. Layers of sediment then alternate with layers of cyanobacteria.

If you’ve noticed the rocks around the base of the Kootenai River swinging bridge, they look like cream and black cabbages sliced open–these are fossilized stromatolites. The black layers are carbon-rich layers from when there was little deposition of sediment and the creamy layers are from periods of higher deposition.

Stromatolites grow slowly, so slowly that it can take 100 years for five centimeters of growth or 2,000 years for a stromatolite to reach one-meter high.

When living stromatolites were discovered in 1956 by scientists in Shark Bay, Australia, they were the first ever recorded examples of a structure previously only found as a fossil in ancient rock.

Stromatolites are one of the oldest fossils on Earth. Worldwide, the oldest fossilized stromatolites are found in South Africa and date back 3.2 billion years. The stromatolites around the Kootenai bridge are part of the Belt formation, a Precambrian sedimentary formation dated between 600 million and 800 million years old.

Stromatolites and the cyanobacteria that created them played a crucial role in shaping the atmosphere of Earth. Like all green plants, cyanobacteria absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, use the carbon to build tissue and then release the oxygen.

During the Precambrian, the atmosphere contained very little oxygen. With the growth of stromatolites and the spread of cyanobacteria around the Earth, the atmosphere became more oxygen-rich and less carbon-rich.

The harsh conditions of the Precambrian, with its carbon-rich atmosphere, hot temperatures and intense ultraviolet radiation set the stage for cyanobacteria to thrive at that time since little else could.
Living stromatolites are found in three places on Earth today: Shark Bay and two places in the Bahamas. Cyanobacteria thrive in Shark Bay because the water is twice as salty as normal seawater due to the restricted flow of the bay. In the Bahamas, stromatolites are found in sub-tidal channels where the currents are very strong and few animals can survive.

Burrowing and grazing marine animals are the demise of stromatolites because they destroy the layers. Therefore, as marine animals populated the oceans, the range of stromatolites decreased to places that were too hostile for animals to survive.

While there may only be a few places on Earth to view living stromatolites, those places offer an opportunity to study a living example of a fossil and determine what affects growth. Scientists have determined tides, temperature and sunlight control the growth of cyanobacteria. So not only do scientists have insight into the conditions on Earth three billion years ago but living stromatolites are keeping a diary of the current conditions on Earth.

Movable Chicken Coop

One day about two years ago I drove by a house that had a chicken coop just like this one in their yard and I thought it would be perfect for the chickens I plan to have one day. I liked it because the chickens were protected from predators and the coop could be moved around the yard and would fertilize everything. It was the next best thing to free range chickens. This is the result of my research on how to build the perfect chicken coop. Click here to learn more or on the pdf file. Please note, I have never raised chickens or lived on a farm this is just my observation of what I think would make a great chicken coop. If you, on the other hand, have raised chickens I would be more than interested to learn from you on how this coop could be improved upon. Thanks, MB



<p><a href="">Download Original</a></p>