Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New species of diatom discovered

05.12.2005


Lake Superior has a new native resident. It’s been hanging around the shore for years, but until now it was regarded as an intercontinental drifter, not a homegrown local. So say Rebecca Bixby of the University of Georgia and fellow researchers Mark Edlund of the Science Museum of Minnesota and Eugene Stoermer from the University of Michigan. In the latest issue of Diatom Research, the scientists describe a new species of diatom, Hannaea superiorensis, found primarily in Lake Superior. Prior to its discovery, the new species of photosynthetic algae was combined with another group of diatoms found in cold, pristine rivers and streams around the world. This is now the only described species of the genus Hannaea that has adapted to living in a lake environment and inhabits one lake in particular.



Diatoms are microscopic, single-celled algae with cell walls composed of silica. The newly described diatom is boomerang-shaped and lives in unusual pincushion-like colonies attached to rocks in the waves along the shore of Lake Superior. Bixby likened the discovery in the well-studied inland waters “to finding a new kind of tree on a street you’ve walked down a hundred times.”

“When you look at it carefully under the microscope and compare it to other diatoms, it clearly is different from the other species it had previously been grouped with,” said Bixby, a postdoctoral researcher with the Institute of Ecology. “Most obvious is the length -- Hannaea superiorensis is nearly twice as long as other species in the genus Hannaea.”


To many people, diatoms are best known for their industrial uses. For years, fossil deposits of diatoms called diatomaceous earth have been mined for uses in filters, pesticides, insulation, paint, ceramic additives, and cleaning abrasives. As scientists have learned how different species of diatoms respond to different environmental conditions, though, these algae have become critical to understanding how bodies of water are affected by climate change and human impacts.

“What makes Hannaea superiorensis so special is that it is native and endemic to Lake Superior -- it is not a new exotic species or an invader,” said Bixby. The term “endemic” describes organisms distributed over a particular, relatively limited geographic area. “It is unusual to find new species that are native to the environment, compared to invasive species that have been introduced to that environment. New endemics are more commonly found in less explored regions like tropical rainforests or remote islands, in part because they are often more sensitive to environmental change.”

“We long ago learned our lesson in the Great Lakes of how vulnerable endemic species are,” added Edlund. “The blue pike in Lake Erie, several large whitefish species in Lakes Michigan and Huron, and even a diatom, Cyclotella americana, have gone extinct in the Great Lakes from overfishing, introduction of exotic species, and pollution.”

The existence of a diatom unique to Lake Superior may help scientists understand the changes the lake has undergone, and how diatoms adapt to different conditions. “The fact that Hannaea superiorensis is only distributed along the shore of Lake Superior, and doesn’t live in rivers, supports the hypothesis that it may have speciated from a close relative, Hannaea arcus, which is river-dwelling in this area,” Bixby said. Molecular analysis, analysis of historical samples, and further river surveys in the region may further support this hypothesis.

The genus Hannaea is named for G. Dallas Hanna, a pioneering American diatomist. The word superiorensis is a Latinization of the new species’ home, Lake Superior.

Kim Carlyle | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uga.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>