Spring algal flora in New Hampshire

The weather has been mostly spring-like these past couple of weeks and algae are definitely out and about in local water bodies. I have sampled a few wetlands including boggy pools and larger ponds and lakes in NH and MA – and the pickings are good! As is typical for the spring, the samples are dominated by chrysophytes, synurophytes, dinoflagellates and diatoms.

Some of the peat bogs also harbored desmids, my favorite kind of algae, and several species of euglenoids, both photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic (the latter are species or genera that have secondarily lost their photosynthetic superpowers).

Undoubtedly the best find was the colonial chrysophyte Cyclonexis annularis. This genus and species is considered rare and to my knowledge has not yet been reported from NH. It has, however, been spotted in the 1940’s in Andover MA, not too far from here. This little critter was swimming fast, so I could not snap a good close-up picture; I only managed to shoot a quick video of it swimming. The colony is bracelet-shaped with individual flagellated cells attached to one another by their sides. Previous authors report the colonies being very fragile and easily falling apart by physical disturbance (bumping into something) and by application of fixatives such as alcohol. Thus, I’ll probably have a hard time getting a better picture!

 

PS: I’ve logged all my observations into my iNaturalist project: http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/freshwater-algae-of-new-england-and-new-york

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