Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Chemistry/Biology/Environmental Studies Seminar

Chemistry/Biology/Environmental Joint Seminar
Thursday in RNS 310 starting at 7:00 p.m. with snacks served during seminar and ICE CREAM SUNDAES after the seminar, (served by SOCS).

Val H. Smith, Ph.D.
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Kansas

The Ecology of Algal Biofuels

One of the greatest hurdles to algal biofuels scale-up is achieving high yields of the algal feedstock's from which these fuels are created.  The reliable and sustainable mass cultivation of microalgae is a key limiting step for the entire commercial enterprise, and successful crop protection against undesirable biomass losses will be a critically important component of these cultivation efforts.   As is true of the terrestrial plants that are cultivated for domestic agriculture, large-scale algal growth facilities will be susceptible to invasions by a diverse array of highly undesirable competitors, plant-consuming pests, and pathogens that can dramatically reduce achievable yields.  I will identify and discuss several core principles of community ecology that have direct relevance to successful large-scale algal biofuels production:  nutrient limitation of crop production, protection of the crop against losses to invertebrate grazers, and protection of the crop against losses to algal pathogens.

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