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1.  Assessing environmental impacts of offshore wind farms: lessons learned and recommendations for the future 
Aquatic Biosystems  2014;10:8.
Offshore wind power provides a valuable source of renewable energy that can help reduce carbon emissions. Technological advances are allowing higher capacity turbines to be installed and in deeper water, but there is still much that is unknown about the effects on the environment. Here we describe the lessons learned based on the recent literature and our experience with assessing impacts of offshore wind developments on marine mammals and seabirds, and make recommendations for future monitoring and assessment as interest in offshore wind energy grows around the world. The four key lessons learned that we discuss are: 1) Identifying the area over which biological effects may occur to inform baseline data collection and determining the connectivity between key populations and proposed wind energy sites, 2) The need to put impacts into a population level context to determine whether they are biologically significant, 3) Measuring responses to wind farm construction and operation to determine disturbance effects and avoidance responses, and 4) Learn from other industries to inform risk assessments and the effectiveness of mitigation measures. As the number and size of offshore wind developments increases, there will be a growing need to consider the population level consequences and cumulative impacts of these activities on marine species. Strategically targeted data collection and modeling aimed at answering questions for the consenting process will also allow regulators to make decisions based on the best available information, and achieve a balance between climate change targets and environmental legislation.
PMCID: PMC4172316  PMID: 25250175
Marine mammals; Seabirds; Wind turbine; Underwater noise; Collision risk; Human impacts; Cumulative impact assessment; Population consequences
2.  Efficient conversion of solar energy to biomass and electricity 
Aquatic Biosystems  2014;10:4.
The Earth receives around 1000 W.m−2 of power from the Sun and only a fraction of this light energy is able to be converted to biomass (chemical energy) via the process of photosynthesis. Out of all photosynthetic organisms, microalgae, due to their fast growth rates and their ability to grow on non-arable land using saline water, have been identified as potential source of raw material for chemical energy production. Electrical energy can also be produced from this same solar resource via the use of photovoltaic modules. In this work we propose a novel method of combining both of these energy production processes to make full utilisation of the solar spectrum and increase the productivity of light-limited microalgae systems. These two methods of energy production would appear to compete for use of the same energy resource (sunlight) to produce either chemical or electrical energy. However, some groups of microalgae (i.e. Chlorophyta) only require the blue and red portions of the spectrum whereas photovoltaic devices can absorb strongly over the full range of visible light. This suggests that a combination of the two energy production systems would allow for a full utilization of the solar spectrum allowing both the production of chemical and electrical energy from the one facility making efficient use of available land and solar energy. In this work we propose to introduce a filter above the algae culture to modify the spectrum of light received by the algae and redirect parts of the spectrum to generate electricity. The electrical energy generated by this approach can then be directed to running ancillary systems or producing extra illumination for the growth of microalgae. We have modelled an approach whereby the productivity of light-limited microalgae systems can be improved by at least 4% through using an LED array to increase the total amount of illumination on the microalgae culture.
PMCID: PMC4062565  PMID: 24976951
Solar energy; Biofuel; Photovoltaics; Microalgae; Renewable
3.  Use of vital wheat gluten in aquaculture feeds 
Aquatic Biosystems  2013;9:21.
In aquaculture, when alternative protein sources of Fish Meal (FM) in diets are investigated, Plant Proteins (PP) can be used. Among them, Vital Wheat Gluten (VWG) is a proteinaceous material obtained from wheat after starch extraction. “It is mainly composed of two types of proteins, gliadins and glutenins, which confer specific visco-elasticity that’s to say ability to form a network providing suitable binding. This will lead to specific technological properties that are notably relevant to extruded feeds”. Besides these properties, VWG is a high-protein ingredient with an interesting amino-acid profile. Whereas it is rather low in lysine, it contains more sulfur amino acids than other PP sources and it is high in glutamine, which is known to improve gut health and modulate immunity. VWG is a protein source with one of the highest nitrogen digestibility due to a lack of protease inhibitor activity and to the lenient process used to make the product. By this way, addition of VWG in diet does not adversely affect growth performance in many fish species, even at a high level, and may secure high PP level diets that can induce health damages.
PMCID: PMC3833847  PMID: 24237766
Vital wheat gluten; Fish; Protein; Digestibility; Performance; Health
4.  Community solar salt production in Goa, India 
Aquatic Biosystems  2012;8:30.
Traditional salt farming in Goa, India has been practised for the past 1,500 years by a few communities. Goa’s riverine estuaries, easy access to sea water and favourable climatic conditions makes salt production attractive during summer. Salt produced through this natural evaporation process also played an important role in the economy of Goa even during the Portuguese rule as salt was the chief export commodity. In the past there were 36 villages involved in salt production, which is now reduced to 9. Low income, lack of skilled labour, competition from industrially produced salt, losses incurred on the yearly damage of embankments are the major reasons responsible for the reduction in the number of salt pans.
Salt pans (Mithagar or Mithache agor) form a part of the reclaimed waterlogged khazan lands, which are also utilised for aquaculture, pisciculture and agriculture. Salt pans in Goa experience three phases namely, the ceased phase during monsoon period of June to October, preparatory phase from December to January, and salt harvesting phase, from February to June. After the monsoons, the salt pans are prepared manually for salt production. During high tide, an influx of sea water occurs, which enters the reservoir pans through sluice gates. The sea water after 1–2 days on attaining a salinity of approximately 5ºBé, is released into the evaporator pans and kept till it attains a salinity of 23 - 25ºBé. The brine is then released to crystallizer pans, where the salt crystallises out 25 - 27ºBé and is then harvested.
Salt pans form a unique ecosystem where succession of different organisms with varying environmental conditions occurs. Organisms ranging from bacteria, archaea to fungi, algae, etc., are known to colonise salt pans and may influence the quality of salt produced.
The aim of this review is to describe salt farming in Goa’s history, importance of salt production as a community activity, traditional method of salt production and the biota associated with salt pans.
PMCID: PMC3543363  PMID: 23198813
Salt pan; Goa; Estuary; Community; Khazan; Tidal influx; India; Salt production
5.  A revision of Artemia biodiversity in Macaronesia 
Aquatic Biosystems  2012;8:25.
In a biogeographical context, the term Macaronesia broadly embraces the North Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores, Madeira, Selvagens, the Canary Islands, and Cape Verde. The peculiar arid climatic conditions in some of these places have led to the development of marine salt exploitations, which can be counted among the hypersaline habitats of the brine shrimp Artemia (Branchiopoda, Anostraca). Parthenogenetic populations of this anostracan were described in the Canary Islands during the last decades of the 20th century, while the American Artemia franciscana species was recently found in the Cape Verde archipelago. Following an invasive pattern, this exotic species has recently reached the Canary Islands, too. This paper reports information dealing with biotope loss (solar saltworks) in this biogeographical region, together with possible consequences concerning the arrival of invasive species, two factors that frequently promote dramatic biodiversity losses. The discussion of this threat focuses mainly on the Canary Islands archipelago where native species of Artemia still exist.
PMCID: PMC3543279  PMID: 23075404
Artemia; Biodiversity; Macaronesia; Saltworks; Loss of habitats; Invasion
6.  Marine crude-oil biodegradation: a central role for interspecies interactions 
Aquatic Biosystems  2012;8:10.
The marine environment is highly susceptible to pollution by petroleum, and so it is important to understand how microorganisms degrade hydrocarbons, and thereby mitigate ecosystem damage. Our understanding about the ecology, physiology, biochemistry and genetics of oil-degrading bacteria and fungi has increased greatly in recent decades; however, individual populations of microbes do not function alone in nature. The diverse array of hydrocarbons present in crude oil requires resource partitioning by microbial populations, and microbial modification of oil components and the surrounding environment will lead to temporal succession. But even when just one type of hydrocarbon is present, a network of direct and indirect interactions within and between species is observed. In this review we consider competition for resources, but focus on some of the key cooperative interactions: consumption of metabolites, biosurfactant production, provision of oxygen and fixed nitrogen. The emphasis is largely on aerobic processes, and especially interactions between bacteria, fungi and microalgae. The self-construction of a functioning community is central to microbial success, and learning how such “microbial modules” interact will be pivotal to enhancing biotechnological processes, including the bioremediation of hydrocarbons.
PMCID: PMC3465203  PMID: 22591596
Hydrocarbon; Crude oil; Salt marsh; Marine microbiology; Biodegradation; Bioremediation; Microbial interactions; Biogeochemistry; Alcanivorax
7.  Brazilian solar saltworks - ancient uses and future possibilities 
Aquatic Biosystems  2012;8:8.
Coastal solar saltworks of Brazil are exploited for sea salt, which becomes progressively concentrated by evaporation. This study aimed to review the current and new potential uses of these systems, in order to provide more dynamic for this activity. The first evaporation ponds are also used for artisanal fisheries, ensuring the livelihood of many families. All the brine rich in secondary salts (bittern) can be widely used by the chemical industry, while the Brazil shows an incipient production of "flower of salt", a salt with distinct characteristics with higher market value than sodium chloride. On the other hand, the saltponds have a high potential for management and obtaining of large populations of Artemia spp., purifying the brine through the action as biological filter. This microcrustacean occurs naturally in intermediate salinity ponds, being commonly used in aquaculture. Species of microalgae and halobacteria found in the saltworks are employed for extraction of beta-carotene and glycerol, used in an extensive list of products with high commercial value. These ecosystems represent refuge zones for many species of migratory birds, becoming imperative to promote the conservation of these hypersaline wetlands.
PMCID: PMC3349464  PMID: 22490329
Wetland; Salt production; Management; Brazil; Conservation
8.  Function and biotechnology of extremophilic enzymes in low water activity 
Aquatic Biosystems  2012;8:4.
Enzymes from extremophilic microorganisms usually catalyze chemical reactions in non-standard conditions. Such conditions promote aggregation, precipitation, and denaturation, reducing the activity of most non-extremophilic enzymes, frequently due to the absence of sufficient hydration. Some extremophilic enzymes maintain a tight hydration shell and remain active in solution even when liquid water is limiting, e.g. in the presence of high ionic concentrations, or at cold temperature when water is close to the freezing point. Extremophilic enzymes are able to compete for hydration via alterations especially to their surface through greater surface charges and increased molecular motion. These properties have enabled some extremophilic enzymes to function in the presence of non-aqueous organic solvents, with potential for design of useful catalysts. In this review, we summarize the current state of knowledge of extremophilic enzymes functioning in high salinity and cold temperatures, focusing on their strategy for function at low water activity. We discuss how the understanding of extremophilic enzyme function is leading to the design of a new generation of enzyme catalysts and their applications to biotechnology.
PMCID: PMC3310334  PMID: 22480329
Extremophile; Extremozymes; Protein stability; Halophiles; Psychrophile; Cold activity; Organic solvent; Low temperature; High salinity; Biofuel; Bioenergy

Results 1-8 (8)