From powering airplanes to replacing nuclear energy, algae has been touted as a green energy miracle. So if our waterways are already filled with the stuff, why isn’t it filling the world’s skies with biofueled planes? Algae is a tricky creature that presents a lot of challenges and misconceptions. Here’s why it’s…
In 1964, the last time Tokyo hosted the Summer Olympics, the nation revealed one of the biggest mic drops in transportation history: the debut of the shinkansen, the world-famous bullet train that became a Japanese icon. The first high-speed train in the world, it spurred similar technology to spread to Europe and…
Long ago, a clan of hardy microbes called cyanobacteria helped terraform the lifeless Earth into a vibrant biosphere. Today, the very same critters could be the key to colonizing Mars.
The summer of 2015 will probably be remembered as one of fire, drought, and hot, hot weather. But it’s also been a summer of frightfully voracious, microscopic life forms. From Lake Erie to the North Atlantic, tiny green algae are multiplying like crazy. And there’s no better way to appreciate the sheer immensity of…
The Blob has been there for over a year—a cauldron of extra-warm ocean temperatures off the coast of the Pacific Northwest that just won’t budge. The Blob has already affected food availability and habitats for marine life, and now scientists are starting to see at least one dangerous side-effect of the Blob: A…
In the twentieth century, oil was black gold. But as we march deeper into the twenty-first century, we could have a lucrative new fuel on our hands. One that’s blue-green and sometimes a little smelly. It’s found in wastewater, but it’s capable of powering jets. It’s algae.
Every summer, the population of algae in the North Atlantic reaches a peak, with the blue-green color of the phytoplankton causing the ocean to visibly change, even from space.
All around the world, in the cold, people walking near high-altitude rivers and lakes see streaks of vibrant "watermelon snow." This bright pink snow can color deep snow wells, or make cliffs look like they are streaked with blood. Find out what makes snow pink.
Scientists have shown that certain algae which use quantum effects to optimize photosynthesis are also capable of switching it off. It's a discovery that could lead to highly efficient organic solar cells and quantum-based electronics.
This tent could one day be your home. It will provide you with shelter from the elements, food, energy, and purified water. Meet the Urban Algae Canopy — perfect for all your environmental apocalypse needs.
One day, dark city streets could be illuminated with biotechnology like this glowing green lamp, which is made with fluorescent algae. The algae naturally emits a soft glow, and at the same time it draws harmful carbon out of the atmosphere. So this street light is naturally good for the environment.
Over at Hackaday, Caleb Kraft has designed a nightlight whose glow comes entirely from bioluminescent algae. And it responds to movement, so it throbs with each footstep you take around the room.
You know those old movies about how some species is exposed to human-made chemicals and radiation and mutates and takes over the world? Do you remember thinking that's pretty old-fashioned? It is. It already happened in 1980.
Prymnesium parvum is a single-celled, toxic algae species that wreaks havoc throughout U.S. waters. The toxin is designed to wipe out their competition for sunlight and nutrients... but for some reason, some of the algae don't bother producing toxins.
Scientists know that worms, bacteria, and various fungi can eat plants and use the vegetable cellulose as a source of carbon for their growth. Plants, on the other hand, simply sit back and photosynthesize carbon dioxide, water, and light. But now, as German researchers have discovered, algae don't always need to…
No, what you're looking at is not some kind of lost prop from an old Alien movie. Rather, it's part of an After Agri performance that was showcased at the recently concluded Digital Design Weekend at the V&A. During the art-piece, the head-mounted, face-clinging device was worn by an opera singer who used her breath…
The microalgae Nitzschia cf pellucida is only a couple of micrometers across, yet this tiny organism has the ability to wage deadly biochemical war to strip its surroundings of competition.
Actually, Mesodinium chamaeleon is both. This single-celled organism definitely eats other creatures, which makes it an animal. But it also absorbs algae cells that can then give it extra energy through photosynthesis. So what on earth is this strange creature?
Here's a reminder that a lot of tiny dead microorganisms can create an absolutely gag-worthy mess. Earlier this week, the British seaside town of Cleveleys was frosted with a thick coating of oceanic foam that resembled snow, but was in all likelihood a frothing mix of deceased algae. Explains The Guardian:
The algae is in full bloom off of the Chinese city of Qingdao, creating a giant greet splotch measuring as much as 70 meters by 100 meters. As you can see, it takes more than that to deter Qingdao beach-goers.