is it and where does it live? This
centric diatom’s cells are drum-shaped, the valve diameter and the density of marginal striae are highly
variable. Cyclotella meneghinianais a rather cosmopolitan
species; in tropical freshwaters,it is associated with various
water depths and salinity1, and, in temperate regions, it is a
typical planktonic taxon in the late summer-autumn2. In North America, this species can cope with a wide range of conditions, for
example from freshwater to saline waters in the Great Plains lakes3.
are we studying it? Studying the distribution of this and other
diatoms in thousands-of-years old sediment and ice cores, paleoecologists - nature’s ‘archaeologists’ - can infer past
salinity, pollution, eutrophication and climatic changes4. Moreover,
analyzing water, soil and vegetation…
by Luca Marazzi* Why
is it important to study algae?
To start with, algae produce ~ 50% of the oxygen on planet Earth, they are food
for small and large animals that in turn are eaten by people, but they also
recycle nutrients and absorb CO2 from the air; by existing and doing
their own thing, these microorganisms provide these so called ecosystem
services to human beings (Fig. 1). Moreover, as algae reproduce fast and are
often adapted to specific environmental conditions, understanding how many
species of algae, and which ones, live where and why give us cues as to the
health of aquatic ecosystems, such as rivers, lakes, and wetlands. Fig. 1. Simplified scheme
of the role of algae in food webs (from my Ph.D. Thesis). * Dr.Luca Marazziis a freshwater ecologist working inDr.
Evelyn Gaiser’s research groupin
the School of Environment, Arts and Society at Florida International University.
His main interest is how biodiversity, ecology, and distribution of
algae in subtropical wetlands cha…