22 Feb 2011:
Sequencing of Algal Blooms
Shows Tenacious Quality of Brown Tides
A comparison of phytoplankton genomes from harmful brown tides and other more benign marine algae show that the phytoplankton that causes brown tides has evolved into an organism perfectly suited to the over-fertilized, polluted, and low-light conditions common in coastal zones
where the blooms occur. Studying the 56-million base pair sequence of the brown tide, Aureococcus anophagefferens
, researchers from the State University of New York, Stony Brook, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution determined that the algae had many advantages over its competitors. These include 62 light-harvesting genes, compared to less than half that number in other algae, enabling brown tide to thrive in low light conditions, as well as numerous genes that enable it to metabolize the high levels of nitrogen, carbon, and toxic metals found in polluted coastal areas. Brown tides have become increasingly common in coastal zones and these blooms have decimated sea grass beds and shellfisheries, leading to billions of dollars in economic losses. The study is published in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The 2015 Yale e360 Video Contest winner documents a Northeastern town's bitter battle over a wind farm. Watch the video.
A 2015 Yale e360 Video Contest winner captures stunning images of wild salmon runs in Alaska. Watch the video.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
video goes onto the front lines with Colorado firefighters confronting deadly blazes fueled by a hotter, drier climate. Watch the video.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.