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The Algae Musicians of the English Channel

Biologists at Illinois' Argonne National Laboratory have taken blue-green algae from the English Channel and equipped them with tiny instruments in order to create original jazz infused tunes. Something like that.

Technically, data about the algae was used to create the music, but let's not nitpick. Music is increasingly becoming an innovative way of understanding large data sets, and researchers are continuously finding new ways of blending art and science — creating music from data just happens to be one of our favorites. One of the algae's songs, entitled, "Bloom", sings the story of how often and abundant some of the algae species bloom.

"The melody is the abundance of microbial species — low notes correspond to lower abundances, and high notes correspond to higher abundances... Chord progression is taken from physical parameters — day length, chlorophyll concentration in the water. When we combine those two, we select a note in the chosen octave that is in harmony with the chord..."

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