Field of Science

Dinoflagellate eats Skeletonema (prelude)

I was looking for a particular picture (of a dino chomping on a filament of Skeletonema if I recall), and came across this very insightful abuse of marine protists: Frequensea - The Ionic Whole Food Tonic.

Normally I would just snicker to myself and move on with business. But I'm rather cranky lately, and a vigorous ego-stroking demolition of worthless crap would be quite nice! Also, this stuff touches on way too many of my personal pet peeves ('natural', 'organic', 'wholesome', 'healthy' foods, New Age bullshit and general white upper-middle-class cultural refuse - I live in Vancouver, you see... At least they're not offering some spiritually-cleansing energy-harmonising dinoflagellate Tantric yoga, yet...) so let's see what they got there:
"The elements and electrolytes in plankton are almost tailor-made for the human body
Yup; the Intelligent Designer thought it'd be really funny to hide our best source of nutrients amidst tiny microscopic floating crap in the ocean. He also thought it'd be hillarious if we have practically no means of tapping into that perfect food source. He's a funny guy, ain't he?
Oh, and electrolytes aren't composed of elements? I knew I suck at chemistry, but didn't know I sucked that much...
It's no coincidence that the composition of human plasma is similar to that of seawater.
Of course, life originating in the oceans has nothing to do with it. And what's this 'plasma' you speak of anyway? Me no animal biologist, me metazoan vocabulary no good!
Over reliance on land-based food sources often leads to deficiencies in micronutrients and trace elements.
Fuck, millions of years out of seawater and still can't cope with those land-based food sources! Hey, what about eating whales? Those are no longer land-based, and are actually sort of filling compared to sea scum... oops, sorry PETA, just joking, you can go back to firebombing medical research labs =D
Our bodies need these elements to perform as nature intended. Left to its own devices, the human body has a marvelous system called homeostasis which keeps all systems in balance. Take away some critical component and the body experiences malfunctions that cause suboptimal performance. Too many malfunctions cause disease.
I thought leaving the body to its own devices leads to starvation? Feeding yourself upsets some innate natural balance? Actually, there is a lot of truth to that. Feeding yourself does keep you away from nature's little balance chemical equilibrium. The little problemo here lies that chemical equilibrium = death, but never mind...

Also, germ theory was wrong I guess. It was those disbalances after all.
What is Marine Phytoplankton?
Phyto = "Light" Plankton = "Floating/Suspended"
Wow, major etymology fail! Quick fumbling with own memories and an online translator reveals that: phyton = plant (also look at bryophyte, chlorophyte, pteridophyte, etc); light = photos (eg. photon, photograph, phototoxicity) You don't really need to know anything about science or the scientific method to at least get your classical Greek etymology sort of right! I mean, seriously, is Wikipedia even too advanced for the writer of that page?

Also, planktos = wanderer/drifter; but there's much easier prey in this website, so I'm not gonna nitpick, for now...
Scientists at NASA theorize that some 3 1/2 billion years ago, the world was changed forever.
Yes, those astronomers at NASA sit in their armchairs and wonder about the origins of life. They 'theorise' feel the answer to be 3.5 bya. And...really, I can't say anything more. Next.
The appearance of tiny organisms with the ability to convert sunlight, warmth, water and minerals into protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and amino acids marked the beginning of life.
Protip: if you're gonna randomly bold and change the colour of something, link is generally expected. Also, first life wasn't photosynthetic; that appeared fairly late, IIRC. They're not creationists, so I won't nitpick any further there...
Marine Phytoplankton, the single-cell plants are the basis of all other life forms on planet earth, they are the 'vegetation' of the ocean. Marine Phytoplankton are responsible for making up to 90% of Earth's oxygen.
THEY'RE NOT PLANTS! /phylopedantry Also, 85.3% of statistics are made up on the spot.
Marine Phytoplankton are the food utilized by the worlds largest and longest living animals and fish. Blue whales, bowhead whales, baleen whales, gray whales, humpbacks, and right whales all eat plankton. These species live between 80 and 150 years old and maintain great strength and endurance throughout their lives. The largest fish a plankton eating whale shark lives for over 150 years, grows up to 14 meters long, weights up to 15 tons, and is sexually active until it dies.
Whales eat plankton and grow big and old and horny, ergo, clearly humans should too.
Ok, I've only taken one ecology course in my entire life, and hated it, but this picture makes my eyes bleed in so many ways. SINCE WHEN DO ARROWS POINT FROM PREDATOR TO PREY!? HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A FUCKING FOOD WEB, EVER??? Those arrows represent flow of energy; drawing them backwards loses all meaning! (to be fair, got it wrong too...)
With this patent pending technology, spring bloom conditions are reproduced in a controlled environment, and this diversity of species is represented in these products which make our marine phytoplankton more powerful. Also the exclusive extraction process allows us to combine the benefits of phytonutrients with a natural and balanced composition of sea minerals. Phytonutrients are natural plant-based chemicals that promote proper metabolic functions.
You can get a patent for culturing mixtures of diatoms? Hang on, have some friends I should probably notify... also, wtf are 'phytonutrients'? How do they differ from 'zoonutrients'? Is there an unnatural/unbalanced composition of sea minerals? Which specific region do you sample?
Until now mankind could only dream of obtaining significant quantities of microscopic plants.
Yes, mankind's deepest philosophical and scientific questions were all about how to grow those little bastards. Actually, I bet there must've been some Eridu or Harappan dude who left a jug of water out in the sun. And then it turned green. Magic!
Through years of research, the Sea Farms can now grow these in quantity. This state of the art facility allows us to produce something unique in the world for your benefit. Many manufactures call cyanobacteria algae. Our marine phytoplankton is not cyanobateria but true micro-algae in its many forms and species.
Ouch, cyanobacteria got shafted! "Our marine phytoplankton is not cyanobacteria but true cyanobacterium-containing eukaryotes in their many forms and species"

Seriously, is anyone else reminded of sewage treatment facilities by those pictures of algae growing tanks?

I could go on a multi-page rant about how all this vitamin and nutrient bullshit ignores the fact that more =! better, and we've coevolved with specific food sources that would perhaps be in our bests interests to continue using... but then that'd be treating this crap too seriously.

So I guess this post really does entail a tiny dinoflagellate devouring a chain of Skeletonema in some ways ^_^

A post doc working with dinoflagellates once moaned about how easy it would be for her to quit research and open up some New Age algal face mask business, using her expertise to sell to people the 'rejuvinating wonders' of...well, anything. So tempting. Damn, honesty is such an annoying nagging bitch sometimes...

She wasn't really the first to think up such ideas. By far. Sad thing is, our fact-checking and research skills are utterly useless and unwanted out there in the dreaded 'real world'. Yeah, we know a bunch of crap about random protists - but who the fuck cares? And the public actively supports those folk over those who do real science. The authors of that website are a few orders of magnitude more employable than I am, even if they are lying and/or ignorant scammers. I'll be the one with glorified welfare, if I even make it that far...


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