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January 2023 Research Summaries and Sustainability Tips

Happy fifth birthday to Everblue!


Though cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, are known for harmful blooms, they’re also a great sustainable resource! This recent study discusses the benefits of using cyanobacteria for pigment production. Cyanobac have natural pigments they use to photosynthesize. This pigment can be harvested and used for human purposes, such as food coloring and clothing dye. Cyanobacteria can be kept via aquaculture, making them an incredibly sustainable resource.


Do you have the urge to tie-dye a shirt or some socks or an entire blanket? Instead of buying overly processed, chemical dyes from the store, you should try making your own sustainable dye at home! There are lots of fruits and vegetables with bold coloration you can use to make dye. Follow the instructions below:

  • Red and pink: beets, pomegranates, avocado pits

  • Indigo: blueberries, purple cabbage, black beans

  • Yellow: sunflower petals, celery leaves, onion skins

  • Orange: Turmeric, carrots, butternut squash husks

  • Green: Mint, spinach, artichokes

Collect your dye materials, and add them to a saucepan with enough water to cover them. Heat on a simmer for one hour. Allow the pan to cool, then strain your dye into a jar or other container. You can alter the colors with lemon juice and vinegar if you want!

Team member Sibly is smiling, holding a glass jar full of natural dye that is very green in color, like Matcha tea.

Next, take your clothing item and simmer in a saucepan for one hour in a mixture of ½ cup salt and water, then run the fabric under cold water, and then apply your natural dye as you normally would. Leave the dye overnight if able, and wah-lah! Sustainably dyed fabrics.

Happy Dyeing! (:


In this study of the Eastern Chinese coast off Jiangsu, researchers looked at the effects that hydrodynamic shear stress has on salt marshes.

Shear stress is the force exerted by one material on another in a slipping manner. Picture a flat surface in your mind, like this rectangular prism-let's pretend it's a block of jello! At rest, the jello block remains in its initial state. Now imagine dragging your hand across the top of the jello- this is shear stress! The force of your hand slips across the jello, disrupting and changing its state. Just like our jello block, marine organisms experience shear stress via the movement of wind, water, and even other creatures!” Next to this, there’s a diagram of a stationary rectangular prism, then another one that’s been morphed into a parallelogram by force.

This was done using 2D simulations, where marsh grass growth was measured against different wave heights and current velocities. The results showed that the factors produce temporal variations of each other. This means that increased salt marsh vegetation decreases wave action and prevents erosion, while increased hydrodynamic activity causes increased marsh bed shear stress, limiting marsh grass growth and promoting further erosion.


Are you looking to put new plants in your yard or garden? Try looking up which native plants in your area help prevent erosion! For example, in Virginia it’s recommended to plant native ferns, shrubs, and perennials such as violets. These plants thrive in moist, shaded conditions, which are the areas in yards that most often tend to erode.

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