Red Tide – Phytoplanktom Blooms, and One-Rock Filter Dams

Phytoplankton are Earth’s life raft!

Near the end of this Walde Sailing video they show a red substance in water.
This is commonly known as red tide. Red tide is likely an iron-rich phytoplankton bloom. When nitrogen and iron are added in combination from sediment run-off or pollution to waters then chlorophyll a concentrations can increase 40-fold leading to diatom proliferation, and reduced community diversity.
Nutient addition like this can also lead to coral bleaching and die off.
After blooming these organisms die and sink in the water column where microbes consume them and deplete the oxygen resulting in dead zones with little sea life. A dead zone the size of Scotland in the Gulf of Oman was recently discovered by robots exploring the Arabian sea, previously unknown because the area wasn’t safe for humans to do the sampling.
Still waters and a lack of mixing with air exacerbates these dead zones especially at lower depths.

Scientists also recently concluded that the last massive extinction event in earths history was the result of anoxia.

Oxygen is the byproduct of phytoplankton and they are responsible for the bulk of atmospheric oxygen when the cycle is regulated. We don’t want them dieing off in these explosive life raft blooms!

We can minimise anoxia in our oceans while still benefitting from phytoplankon oxygen production by reducing nutrient run-off in sediment from land with techniques like simple one-rock high filter dams seeded with plants to grow in the sediment and act as biofilters. This applies not only to our oceans but also inland waters, where even our water supply is at risk from sedimentation and a reduction in water volume in fresh water reserviors we get out drinking and irrigation waters from.

Here’s a Great Barrier Reef rock gulley success story.
Here are one-rock high filter dam pictures

one-rock gulleyone-rock


Sunken Garden Beds for Dry Climates

Get the low down on growing in sunken beds from David Crouch‘s examples.
Don’t forget to check out Zuni/Waffle beds and Zai pits too.

Wild Harvesting Mycorrhizal Fungi Using THESE?

Reading the comments on this one prompted me to comment…

Communities of saprotrophic (“rotten material” + “plant”) fungal hyphae (web) that break down wood chips and above ground plant litter tend to fruit mushrooms to spread their spores by air, mold uses explosive sacs to spread their spores into the air, whereas root-associated endo (internal to the root) or ecto (external) mycorrhizae (“fungus” + “root”) form symbiotic relationships with living plants and reproduce from spores in sacs on the hyphae (web) at the roots. Without plants to host them, mycorrhizae tend to die off. The different types are also often vertically separated in soils. So you want both types, and collecting above ground litter and below ground feeder roots can help spread the latter. Succession in forests has been shown to correlate with the interconnectedness of plants and so collecting fungal species that can interconnect plants at their roots or decompose material aboveground to feed them will aid succession. When a tree falls and is left to decompose it creates a food pathway for fungal hyphae to create super highways connecting plants. We can replicate this by leaving intact trunks or branches in contact with soil between plants. One of the highest minerals in trees is potassium, and potassium increases the colonisation of plant roots by mycorrhizae.
The white strings aka hyphae (webs) often seen in wood chips and compost can also be formed by bacteria such as Actinomycetes.

There have also been studies showing that most products claiming to contant inoculants that have mycorrhizal spores, don’t.

Functional Soil Carbon

Good video, though I’d like to add some comments, premised with the fact I’ve never taken an agronomy class. 🙂

Labile carbon mosly comes from air and top soil, driven by photosynthesis and oxygen reduction. It doesn’t need sunlight and water but they certainly form the dominant reactions. Sulfur and iron are also important for redox of carbon compounds, especially the deeper in the soil you get and the lower the energy state it is in. Without sulfur and iron, carbon lifeforms can’t oxidize certain carbon compounds and utilise them.

It doesn’t have to take 40-60 years to convert carbon in compost if the C:N ratio is in a working carbon priming range. Carbon priming of soils occurs between a C:N of 12:1 and 80:1 by microbes. The problem is that most composts use up all their nitrogen before field application and when the carbon in compost is applied to soils, microbes take up nitrogen and oxygen from the soil to break it down for use and thereby reduce plant available nitrogen and oxygen. Which is why here in Australia “Next Gen” compost that have slow release fertilzer added to it show excellent results.

Several plant species are also able to exude organic acids in response to toxic elements like Aluminium that tends to bind soil aggregates and increase soil density reducing plant air and water availability. Why it’s good to have a mix of plant species.

Organic acids in the carboxyl group like vinegar (acetic acid) have been shown in low doses to improve drought tolerance, effectively helping plants oxidize material for consumption. This is basically akin to Steve Solomon’s approach in Gardening Without Irrigation, by doing the work for the plants.

Sulfonic acids bring with them sulfur groups and an even stronger acid to break down material. One study on sterile meteroities that landed in deserts showed sulfur in the meteorite being used by indigenous microbes to break that meteorite down.

Other organic acids like phenols however can impede seedling root growth, so I’d only recommend them on established crops. Anaerobic practises like bokashi create these phenolic compounds.

Fungi also produce organic acids, and the more soil carbon you have the more fungi, the more carbon cycling.

As for disease, the less soil carbon you have, the more predatory organisms you have, like nematodes and fungi. When fungi don’t have enough carbon available they prey on plants to get that carbon. When there aren’t enough fungi to keep the nematodes in check, the nematodes prey on plants.

Everything needs that precious carbon to live above all else.

In the right environment, livestock can also play an important carbon cycling role with these organic acids and regenerative farming practices.

The integrated crop–livestock system showed the highest concentrations of dissolved soil organic C (78 μg C g−1 soil) as well as phenolic compounds (1.5 μg C g−1 soil), reducing sugars (23 μg C g−1 soil), and amino acids (0.76 μg N g−1 soil), and these components were up to 3-fold greater than soils under the other systems. However, soil β-glucosidase activity in the integrated crop–livestock system was significantly lower than the other systems and appeared to reflect the inhibitory role of soluble phenolics on this enzyme

Chemical composition of dissolved organic matter in agroecosystems: Correlations with soil enzyme activity and carbon and nitrogen mineralization – ScienceDirect