Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Why we see red when looking at ocean plants

18.09.2003


Rutgers marine scientists say phytoplankton changed color 250 million years ago

Green was the dominant color for plants both on land and in the ocean until about 250 million years ago when changes in the ocean’s oxygen content - possibly sparked by a cataclysmic event - helped bring basic ocean plants with a red color to prominence - a status they retain today. That’s the view of a group led by marine scientists from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in a paper, "The Evolutionary Inheritance of Elemental Stoichiometry in Marine Phytoplankton" in the journal Nature, published Thursday (Sept. 18).

Studying ancient fossils plus current species of microscopic ocean plants called phytoplankton, the scientists found evidence that a "phytoplankton schism" took place after a global ocean oxygen depletion killed 85 percent of the organisms living in the ocean about 250 million years ago at the end of the Permian era. "This paved the way for the evolution of red phytoplankton," said one of the paper’s authors, Paul G. Falkowski, professor in the Environmental Biophysics and Molecular Ecology Program at Rutgers’ Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences (IMCS). Falkowski has a joint appointment with Rutgers’ Department of Geological Sciences.



The Permian era, prior to the advent of the dinosaurs, ended in a global extinction scientists believe may have been linked to extraterrestrial collisions or earthly eruptions or explosions.

"Plants on land are green, and they inherited the cell components that gave them a green color about 400 million years ago," Falkowski said. "But most of plants or phytoplankton in the ocean are red - they inherited their pigments about 250 million years ago. Our paper suggests that a global ocean oxygen depletion changed the chemistry of the ocean and selected for red phytoplankton. The ocean has been dominated by the red line ever since."


The research is supported under the National Science Foundation’s Biocomplexity Program. Lead author on the paper is Antonietta Quigg, formerly of IMCS and now at Texas A&M University. Besides Falkowski, co-authors include Zoe V. Finkel and Andrew J. Irwin of IMCS, Yair Rosenthal of IMCS and the Department of Geological Sciences, Oscar Schofield of IMCS and Rutgers’ Coastal Ocean Observation Laboratory and John R. Reinfelder of Rutgers’ Department of Environmental Sciences. Co-authors from Princeton University Department of Geosciences are Tung-Yuan Ho and Francois M.M. Morel.

Bill Haduch | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rutgers.edu/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel

nachricht The Nagoya Protocol Creates Disadvantages for Many Countries when Applied to Microorganisms
05.12.2016 | Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

High-precision magnetic field sensing

05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Construction of practical quantum computers radically simplified

05.12.2016 | Information Technology

NASA's AIM observes early noctilucent ice clouds over Antarctica

05.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>