Our student researchers presented the results of their summer’s work in a poster session on Friday afternoon in the Testa atrium. We had a great turnout, and the scientific breadth covered by the various posters was really impressive – reminder how enriching it is to be in a department that includes biology, chemistry, and physics.
Super proud of Melissa, Emily (who had to run to practice before the photo was taken; I will have to photoshop her in…), Aleeza and Madison. Nice job, ladies, keep up the good work!
Our paper, Molecular and morphological delimitation and generic classification of the family Oocystaceae (Trebouxiophyceae, Chlorophyta), is now accepted in Journal of Phycology (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jpy.12581/full). The article sorts the diversity of Oocystaceae into subfamilies and clades based on molecular and morphological data. Many thanks to my fabulous coauthors, especially to the lead author Lenka Štenclová, who will be coming to work with me for a couple of months at Assumption College starting next week!
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.
Colonial chrysophyte of the genus Uroglena
Colonial chrysophyte Chrysostephanosphaera
Green alga of the genus Tetraspora – note the pseudocilia (nonfunctional flagella) coming off of the side of the colony
Uroglenopsis americana, a colonial chrysophyte. Upon careful look, you can see the gelatinous stalks holding the colony together.
Mallomonas caudata, a scaled, bristled synurophyte.
A dinoflagellate, likely of the genus Gymnodinium.
Some kind of a parasite (left) sucking the life out of a diatom (right).
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).
Micrasterias truncata, a pretty desmid
Cylindrocystis brebissonii, a relative of desmids from the family Mesotaeniaceae
Anisonema, a non-photosynthetic euglenoid; image taken under phase contrast
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