By Gary Thomas
A biologist has identified 6 genera and 11 nano- and picoplanktonic species of green algae in the Bilbao estuary. Aitor Alonso, the biologist, has defended his thesis titled “Green algae in the picoplankton and nanoplankton in the estuary of the river Nervión” at the University of the Basque Country.
Aitor Alonso, author of the thesis. (Photo: Monika del Valle / Argazki Press).
Algae have been used for treating sewage, production of biofuels, and for products in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. The relative and abundant presence of the algae in the estuary triggered the research. The researcher studied the specific diversity and found that the chlorophyta division green algae were most abundant during the summer.
Study was conducted on 26 algae strains from the Nervión estuary, from which 6 genera and 11 species were identified. They were - Oltmannsiellopsis (O. unicellularis and O. viridis), Eutreptiella (E. eupharyngeae and E. gymnastica), cf. Chlamydomonas, Pyramimonas (P. orientalis, P. moestrupii, P. grossii, P. robusta and P. propulsa), Nephroselmis (N. pyriformis), and Mamiella (M. gilva).
The biologist utilized three techniques in combination to study the picoplankton. The Tyramide Signal Amplification (TSA)-FISH technique which expands the algal markers that work as fluorescent signals, flow cytometry that is used for classification and counting of cells in fluids, and epifluorescence. As part of the thesis, the biologist has proposed improvements to the three techniques and ways of interpreting the results. For sample counting, he recommends flow cytometry instead of TSA-FISH. The researcher also proposed possible solutions to problems in applying the TSA-FISH technique.