NS3977 : Cyanobacteria - Nostoc commune

taken 12 years ago, near to Renton, West Dunbartonshire, Great Britain

Cyanobacteria - Nostoc commune
Cyanobacteria - Nostoc commune
The derelict area in which these colonies were found is the foreground that is shown covered with snow in the following photo: NS3977 : Former site of walled garden of Strathleven House.

The seaweed-like mass shown here measured 15 cm across. It is a colony of cyanobacteria; specifically, it is Nostoc commune. For more on cyanobacteria, see NS3977 : Cyanobacteria - Nostoc pruniforme, taken on the same day, in the same place; they are bacteria, but, unlike most bacteria, they perform photosynthesis (hence the green component of their colour).

Within its outer membrane, the colony contains a brownish gel, forming a matrix in which chains of green photosynthetic cells are suspended. The colonies vary greatly in appearance according to how wet they are, but are generally olive-green to brown.

Although I've shown a single specimen here, the area was covered in seaweed-like patches, up to several square metres in size. Two factors account for the abundance: (1) for the west of Scotland, the summer of 2009 was the second-wettest since records began in 1914, and (2) there is great deal of concrete here, from large chunks to tiny fragments (the Nostoc pruniforme link, above, explains why this favours their growth).

The abundance of N. commune was not confined to this spot; later on the same day, I noticed that a little concrete NS3977 : Footbridge over the Murroch Burn in Kilmalid was also densely covered: see NS3977 : Nostoc commune on footbridge, taken on a later occasion. Incidentally, when they dry out, Nostoc colonies become extremely inconspicuous.
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NS3977, 335 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Friday, 28 August, 2009   (more nearby)
Wednesday, 2 September, 2009
Geographical Context
Derelict, Disused 
Place (from Tags)
Vale of Leven Industrial Estate 
Image Buckets ?
Closeup  Life 
Algae   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3944 7797 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:58.0683N 4:34.4455W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3944 7797
View Direction
Southeast (about 135 degrees)
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Other Tags
Nostoc  Cyanobacteria  Bacteria 

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