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 Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>