Russ George pulls off an iron fertilization experiment off the coast of British Columbia with help from the Haida Nation, but was meaningful science in place?
Just caught this April, 2010, video of Dr. Michael Lomas making biodiesel from marine algae of the Sargasso Sea.Â He’s getting yield of “about 1/2 coffee cup or 4-6 oz” of concentrated (1/100th human hair mesh opening) paste from an 80 liter culture.
Still no mention of open-ocean culture.Â It’s all about scaling closed incubators up by 1000x volume.
At first glance this LOHAFEX experiment looks to be a step forward.Â Understanding the longer-term evolution of carbon (and other) fluxes is a short-coming of past iron fertilization experiments.Â This article suggests they will monitor the patch for about two months.
This theme section of Marine Ecological Press Series just came across my desk: “Implications of large-scale iron fertilization of the oceans” (2.1Mb).
“Biofuel” is only mentioned in relation to tank/pond-based productivity.
“Biodiesel” is not in any of the documents.
Why is no one talking about harvesting liquid fuels from fertilized patches?Â Do I need to start a for-profit company to test such ideas, ore is there a better, “open-source,” way to ignite the blue revolution (or at least intellectual debate about it)?
Fate of the organic molecules generated by primary productivity in the surface ocean:
- carbohydrates, proteins, and nucleic acids (biological pump acts on these)
- lipids and structural polymers (diagenesis turns these into organic fossils, kerogen, & bitumen (oil)
Organismal part of talk (examples of sterols used as biomarkers)
- diversity of sterols and steranes (branches can indicate phylogeny)
- C_30 isopropylcholesterol likely associated with sponges
Population level (metagenomics)
- C_29 steranes (dominant [relative to C28} in Paleozoic)
- One explanation is that C29 may be typical of green algae, while C28 indicate modern phytoplankton (that arose ~200 Mya)
- But C29 sterols are made by MANY eukaryotes.Â Green algae (Charophyceae) are implicated because they have a good fossil record back into the Paleozoic).
- Ternary diagram shows that Prasinophytes (likely modern analog of the Paleozoic green algae) have lower C29/C28 ratio than groups of green algae [Kodner, Geobiology, 2008]
- Advantage of studying modern orgs is that nucleic acids are available for taxonomic survey, in addition to lipids.
- Sequence a aggregated sample, compare with sequence database, use search alignment tool (BLAST), and compare with reference sequences to get reference phylogeny
Where does all the sulfur come from in crude oil?
Is it clear that diagenesis does not degrade sterol structure?Â If so, what organisms generated the fossil molecules we call fuel?