December 4, 2017 at 8:58 am

Vis and Students Publish Two Articles on New Freshwater Red Alga

Dr. Morgan Vis

Dr. Morgan Vis

Dr. Morgan Vis, Professor and Chair of Environmental & Plant Biology, and graduate students describe a new freshwater red alga – Lympha mucosa in article  in Algae.

This new alga was described in titled “Adding to the freshwater red algal diversity in North America: Lympha mucosa gen. et sp. nov. (Batrachospermales, Rhodophyta)” by Josh Evans ’17M.S., who earned his master’s in plant biology from the College of Arts & Sciences, Iara Chapuis and Vis.

“I really like the way the name sounds and it has great meaning” said Vis. “Iara, a Ph.D. student from Granada University in Spain who visited my lab, proposed naming the genus after an ancient Roman deity of fresh water. Josh, an M.S. student, advocated for the species name because this alga gave us such trouble with extracting DNA and RNA due to the great amounts of slime surrounding it (scientific wording –mucilage).”

A second article on this alga was published by Danny Wolf, an M.S student, Evans, and Vis. This article was titled “Complete mitochondrial genome of the freshwater red alga Lympha mucosa (Rhodophyta)” in Mitochondrial DNA part B.

Mitochondrial genome for the new red alga, circular graphic showing various genes

Mitochondrial genome for the new red alga


The strictly freshwater red algal order Batrachospermales has undergone numerous taxonomic rearrangements in the recent past to rectify the paraphyly of its largest genus Batrachospermum. These systematic investigations have led to the description of new genera and species as well as re-circumscription of some taxa. Specimens collected from two locations in the southeastern USA were initially identified as being allied to Batrachospermum sensu lato, but could not be assigned to any recognized species. Representative rbcL (plastid) and COI-5P (mitochondrion) sequences showed these specimens to be similar to each other and not closely matching the previously published sequence data for other Batrachospermum taxa. Comparison of sequence variation and morphology with a broader range of batrachospermalean taxa resulted in the proposal of a new monotypic genus Lympha mucosa gen. et sp. nov. to accommodate these specimens. Lympha mucosa is sister to members of a newly described genus Volatus, but the two genera are easily distinguished based on straight versus curved, twisted or spirally coiled carpogonial branch, respectively. This new taxon has morphological similarities to Batrachospermum sections Turfosa and Virescentia, but can be differentiated based on genetic divergence in rbcL and COI-5P as well as a combination of morphological characters: dense, compressed whorls, axial carposporophytes with a single type of gonimoblast filament; cortication of the main axis closely appressed; and short, straight carpogonial branch arising from the pericentral cell and carpogonia with unstalked, lanceolate trichogynes. This new taxon adds to the freshwater red algal diversity of the southeastern USA, a region already known for biodiversity and high endemism of the aquatic flora and fauna. It is also a relevant new addition to the taxonomic knowledge of the freshwater red algal Batrachospermales.

We present the complete mitochondrial genome of a newly described freshwater red alga Lympha mucosa. The genome was sequenced using the Illumina MiSeq platform. The circular mitochondrial genome is 25,191 bp, contains 46 genes (24 CDS, 20 tRNA, and 2 rRNA), and has an overall GC content of 27.5%. Phylogenetic analyses of the cox1 gene show the placement of Lympha mucosa within the strictly freshwater order Batrachospermales. The four mitochondrial genomes within the subclass Nemaliophycidae sequenced to date are highly conserved in terms of genome size, gene content, and gene synteny.

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