Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Algae that are both "plant" and "animal"

14.06.2007
Nature is full of surprises. There are some algal species that can act both as "plants" and as "animals" at the same time. Wanderson Carvalho from the University of Kalmar has in his research for his PhD degree, contributed to better understand why these organisms have this behavior and what might be the effects of this nutrition on the environment, economy and public health issues.

We know that in terrestrial ecosystems, plants are the only living beings capable of producing their own food. This is only possible thanks to the chlorophyll and other pigments which can capture the sunlight energy.

With this energy and nutrients (e. g. nitrogen and phosphorus) from land and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere they produce organic material. Plants are thus producers and belong to the base of the food chain. Until recently it was believed that the same system worked for lakes and the sea, where phytoplankton (microalgae) served as food for zooplankton (microscopic animals), which in turns were eaten by small fishes, which were eaten by bigger fishes and then by humans and other top predators. However, nature is full of surprises! There are algae species that can act both as "plants" and as "animals" at the same time.

As "plants" the algae produce their own food and as "animals" they can eat other plants or even their own grazers. These organisms are called mixotrophs and their nutritional strategy is thus known as mixotrophy, in other words: "mixed nutrition". This dual nutritional behavior affects the notion of food chain mentioned above. In a comparison, imagine if instead of a cow eating the grass, the grass grabs and eats the cow.

... more about:
»Carvalho »animals" »mixotrophs »nutrient

The thesis of Wanderson Carvalho had as one of the objectives to quantify in two mixotrophic species how much nitrogen and phosphorous are needed when they act as "plants" and as "animals", respectively. For example, under nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorus) deficient conditions, mixotrophs can outcompete other algae species by eating them or utilizing the little available nutrients dissolved in the water. Wanderson also found out that "feeding as animals" can also provide carbon and energy to the mixotrophs if light is low or absent.

In absence of food, mixotrophs can use their photosynthetic capabilities to survive until suitable prey is available again. Mixotrophs can decrease competition since they can feed on their competitors and predators alike. Mixotrophs can survive adverse periods and because of that many mixotrophs form blooms, becoming potentially harmful to the environment.

Wanderson Carvalho thesis is entitled The Role of Mixotrophy in the Ecology of Marine "Phytoplankton".

More information:
Wanderson Carvalho tel: +46-480 447 352; wanderson.carvalho@hik.se
or Edna Granéli tel: +46-480 447 307 mobil: +46-70 674 9415.
Pressofficer Karin Ekebjär; karin.ekebjar@hik.se +46-709229 435

Karin Ekebjär | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se

Further reports about: Carvalho animals" mixotrophs nutrient

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht At last, butterflies get a bigger, better evolutionary tree
16.02.2018 | Florida Museum of Natural History

nachricht New treatment strategies for chronic kidney disease from the animal kingdom
16.02.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>