Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Group Of Algae Discovered: Picobiliphytes

Date:
January 15, 2007
Source:
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
Summary:
An international group of researchers has succeeded in identifying a previously unknown group of algae. As currently reported in the scientific journal Science, the newly discovered algae are found among the smallest members of photosynthetic plankton -- the picoplankton. On account of the minute size of the organisms and the appearance of phycobili-proteins, researchers have termed the new group "Picobiliphyta."

The picture shows a phycobiliphyta cell in fluorescence microscope. The cell nucleus is colored in blue, the cytoplasma in green. The red fluorescence comes from a plastide with phycobiliproteins. The cell measures 2x5 m (1m = 1/1000 millimetre).
Credit: Photo : Fabrice Not/Station Biologique de Roscoff

An international group of researchers has succeeded in identifying a previously unknown group of algae. As currently reported in the scientific journal Science, the newly discovered algae are found among the smallest members of photosynthetic plankton - the picoplankton ('Picobiliphytes: A marine picoplanktonic algal group with unknown affinities to other Eukaroytes" Science, Vol. 316'). On account of the minute size of the organisms (no more than a few thousandth of a millimetre) and the appearance of phycobili-proteins, researchers have termed the new group Picobiliphyta.

Approximately 50 percent of global photosynthesis is conducted in the world's oceans where it is dominated by microscopic algae, the so-called phytoplankton. Scientists estimate that up to 90 percent of phytoplanktonic species are currently unidentified. In the present study, scientists used molecular techniques to investigate the smallest members of the plankton, the picoplankton. Because picoplankton algae are so extremely small, they are almost impossible to study by means of microscopy.

Researchers investigated gene sequences of the 18S gene, common to all cells. The identity of new organisms can be deduced from a comparison of familiar and unfamiliar gene sequences.

"The gene sequences found in these algae could not be associated with any previously known group of organisms", explain Dr Klaus Valentin and Dr. Linda Medlin, co-authors of the study and molecularbiologists at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven.

The algae in this study were found in plankton samples originating from various regions of the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean. The scientists have discovered a group of organisms which, despite being completely new to science, have a wide distribution.

"This is a good indication for how much there is still to discover in the oceans, especially using molecular tools", says Valentin.

Apart from the unfamiliar gene sequences, the researchers also extracted phycobili-proteins from the algae. In red algae, for example, these proteins occur as colour pigments. However, in the newly discovered algal group, the phycobili-proteins are found at the sites for photosynthesis, i.e. in the plastids. This location of pigment proteins represents a novelty in that it has not been reported for any other algal species. Hence, it provides a clear indication that the researchers are dealing with a previously unidentified species of algae. Referring to their small size and the presence of phycobili proteins, the researchers named the new group Picobiliphytes.

On January 12, 2007, the study entitled 'Picobiliphytes: A marine picoplanktonic algal group with unknown affinities to other Eukaroytes' will be published in the scientific journal Science.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. "New Group Of Algae Discovered: Picobiliphytes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 January 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070111181710.htm>.
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. (2007, January 15). New Group Of Algae Discovered: Picobiliphytes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070111181710.htm
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. "New Group Of Algae Discovered: Picobiliphytes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070111181710.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Hoping to break the record for world's wooliest, Shaun the sheep came up 10 pounds shy with his fleece weighing over 50 pounds after being shorn for the first time in years. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) An international team uncovered a large ancient wine celler that likely belonged to a Cannonite ruler. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins