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 Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>