Marine algae, marine sponges

27 February 2014
Biology

At http://phys.org/print312472375.html … a PNAS paper has shown aquatic algae can detect colours such as orange, green, and blue, spectrums of light. In contrast, land plants have receptors that allow them to see light on the red and far red spectrum – in order to them to renew and grow as the environment changes with the seasons. For example, it is recognised by gardeners and farmers that once midsummer has passed by and the day shortens that plants put on a spurt to achieve maturity, and eventually, seeding. On the other hand, phytoplanktons in the oceans are all part of the system that regulates the climate, we are told.

Meanwhile, at http://phys.org/print312452139.html … the Max Planck Institute has found see sponges can make glass rods. Yes, glass filaments. It has been suspected by geologists that sea sponges contributed to the production of flint – a glass like substance that involves silica solution. However, this research (at the link) is even more intriguing as sponges use the glass filament to attach themselves to the sea floor. The sponge under the microscope, so to speak rather than literally, forms the glass rod by making use of regularly arranged proteins – know as silicateins.

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