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Results tagged “march-12”

Mar 12, 2014: Francis Beidler Forest

Francis Beidler Forest

It was a long day at the workshop today, and an even longer one tomorrow, so another brief entry.

One of my favourite places in my two trips to the southeastern USA, Francis Beidler Forest near Charleston, South Carolina, protects old-growth cypress-tupelo swamp. Both bald-cypress (Taxodium distichum) and tupelo (Nyssa aquatica) are present in this photograph. The base of bald-cypress trees is buttressed (often with accompanying knees), while the base of the tupelo trees seem like swollen trunks (the leftmost two trees completely in the image are tupelo, while the next larger one is a bald-cypress). It is difficult to see in the photograph at this size, but the bark is also quite different: tupelo bark resembles the platiness of some reptile skins, while bald-cypress bark is stringier and forms a bit of a diamond pattern.

Mar 12, 2012: Heterosigma akashiwo

Heterosigma akashiwo

We'll conclude the UBC Celebrate Research Week series a bit belatedly -- I was hoping to receive higher resolution images, but people get busy, so we'll make do. Katherine introduces today's researcher:

Richard White is a PhD student of Dr. Curtis Suttle, Professor and Associate Dean, Research (Faculty of Science) (Suttle lab). Today's entry is about an algae-infecting virus. The left image is of the HaNIV virus (from Lawrence, J et al. 2001. A novel virus (HaNIV) causes lysis of the toxic bloom-forming alga Heterosigma akashiwo (Raphidophyceae). J. Phycol. 37:216-222), and the second two images are of the alga Heterosigma akashiwo.

Richard writes about "Unraveling the viral diversity amongst marine phytoplankton":

Heterosigma akashiwo (pictured centre and right) is responsible for toxic blooms that cause mass economic impacts to marine fish population's worldwide. The name akashiwo itself comes from Japanese meaning "red tide", which is a phenomenon that this organism causes in marine ecosystems. The toxicity of blooms caused by Heterosigma akashiwo can affect all trophic levels of the marine environment from copepods, fish, echinoderms and mollusks, but the toxin is unknown.

Heterosigma akashiwo has a true adversary that regulates its population and helps safeguard Earth's ocean from its devastating bloom effects. A wide range of viruses infect Heterosigma akashiwo (pictured above left is an ssDNA virus - HaNIV), and these can be involved in the termination of blooms. Understanding these viruses provides insight into the natural control mechanisms that regulate red tides in nature.

Katherine adds: For those who are interested, you can see more about harmful algal blooms. A British Columbian resource also outlines their effect on people (Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning), as well as local beach closures.

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