What Creates These Bright Pink Streaks in the Snow?

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. » 11/11/14 12:40pm 11/11/14 12:40pm

This Algae Can Switch Its Internal Quantum Computer On And Off

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. » 6/18/14 1:30pm 6/18/14 1:30pm

This Is What Tent Cities Will Look Like After Peak Oil

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. » 5/02/14 9:08pm 5/02/14 9:08pm

A biological street lamp that cleans carbon out of the air

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. » 10/07/13 10:00am 10/07/13 10:00am

You're looking at the lightbulb of the future

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. » 4/19/13 1:00pm 4/19/13 1:00pm

We've created a mutant creature that took over the world

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. » 4/01/13 6:20am 4/01/13 6:20am

Toxic algae species is full of freeloading cheaters... and why that…

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. » 1/20/13 4:00pm 1/20/13 4:00pm

When times get tough, algae can steal energy from other plants

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… » 11/21/12 6:20am 11/21/12 6:20am

Opera singer grows algae on her face by feeding it with her breath and…

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… » 9/27/12 7:30am 9/27/12 7:30am

Tiny algae uses World War I chemical agents to kill competitors

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. » 2/03/12 8:40am 2/03/12 8:40am

Is this bizarre organism an animal, a plant, or both?

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? » 1/15/12 3:30pm 1/15/12 3:30pm

British seaside town blasted with mysterious white goo

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: » 12/31/11 7:30am 12/31/11 7:30am

Algae invades Chinese beach, people still go swimming

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. » 7/17/11 9:30am 7/17/11 9:30am

Bacteria-laced algae are invading freshwater streams across the globe

In the small, freshwater streams of South Dakota, a horrible menace is creeping along the rockbeds. Known as rock snot, it's a form of algae that clings to rocks and spreads rapidly until it takes over the entire ecosystem of the stream, often killing off local plants and microbes. The stuff has spread from North… » 6/07/11 5:00pm 6/07/11 5:00pm

Why a simple bed of algae could save us from water pollution and fuel…

With water shortages looming in the future, we need new ways to clean water that's been fouled by human waste, agricultural runoff and industry. A new article published in BioScience (free PDF link) shows that we can use naturally-occurring algae as a filter. The plants would not only make the water suitable for… » 6/02/11 9:44am 6/02/11 9:44am

Future humans with algae implants could breathe underwater

Ever wonder how we're going to create humans who can breathe underwater? Of course you do. Now a study published this week about how algae insinuate themselves into salamander embryos (and DNA) could provide the beginnings of an answer. » 4/05/11 4:00pm 4/05/11 4:00pm

A 34,000 year old bacteria has come back from the dead and is breeding

Thirty-four millennia ago, some bacteria got trapped inside salt crystals in what is now Death Valley. These crystals were recently dug up and the bacteria freed from their hibernation...and then they started reproducing. » 1/17/11 6:46pm 1/17/11 6:46pm

Colombia's Caño Cristales is a river of psychedelic algae

For most of the year, Caño Cristales in Serrania de La Macarena, Colombia is a normal river. But for a brief period between the wet and dry seasons, Caño Cristales explodes with kaleidoscopic algae straight out of another dimension. » 7/31/10 12:54pm 7/31/10 12:54pm

Single-Cell Algae Can Swim In Two Different "Gears"

A form of algae, called Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, has a very complicated way of swimming. A new study published in Nature magazine explains how individual algae cells can control their motion using tiny little flagella operating in two different "gears." » 7/30/09 5:21pm 7/30/09 5:21pm

Biotech Is The New Nanotech

Not only could we use algae as a new fuel source soon, but we also might use it to create better nanotechnology. Diatoms, tiny phytoplanktons, come encased in a unique cell wall made out of silica, which has pores and channels that increase its surface area dramatically. Using the existing complexity of these natural… » 2/07/08 6:30am 2/07/08 6:30am