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Subject: Diatomist seeking help in identifying green alga
From: "michael j. sullivan" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:michael j. sullivan
Date:Thu, 22 Apr 1999 17:31:20 -0500

text/plain (59 lines)

I have been unable to identify a green alga brought to me by the Wildlife &
Fisheries Department here at Miss. State University.  This alga was growing
profusely in a 6,000 liter aquarium (ca. 3 meters across and about 1 meter
deep) that contained a large population of the shrimp Macrobrachium.
Although the tank is in Greenville, Mississippi (right near the Miss. River
but 200+ miles from the coast), the salinity of the tank was 12-15 parts per
thousand.  The water was well water and the salts were from Instant Ocean.
The tank had been sterilized with chlorine before water, salts, or shrimp
were added.

The alga in question is like none I've seen before, but remember I'm a
marine diatomist.  This alga is grass green in color and was floating in the
samples as delicate green tufts 1-3+ mm across.  Whether it was attached to
something in the aquarium is unknown as the person that collected it said
the water appeared totally green in color from the alga's prolific growth.
I would describe it as openly and freely branched.  Sometimes the branching
is alternate and sometimes all the branches will come off the same side of
the filament (but they are never opposite).  All orders of branches have the
same diameter. It appears that cell divisions are both apical and
intercalary.  The cells are typically 7-9 um in diameter and range in length
from 12-15 um.  DIC with oil immersion indicates the chloroplast is
parietal, with one or more pyrenoids, and the cells are uninucleate as far
as I can tell.  The cell walls are very thin.  None of the cells have any
type of hairs or setae, and nothing remotely resembling a reproductive
structure was present.  My material had no epiphytic diatoms despite an
apparent lack of mucilage secretion by the green alga.  There were a few
mucous tubes entangled amongst the filaments containing a Nitzschia speices,
but that was it.

I've run it through all the standard marine keys [Taylor (1960), Humm &
Taylor (1961), Dawes (1974), Edwards (1976), Humm (1979), Kapraun (1984),
Schneider & Searles (1991)].  I even ran it through Prescott's How to Know
the Freshwater Algae and the trail ended at the chaetophoracean alga Leptosira.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.  I have not taken any photos of this
alga, and even if I had, I would certainly not send it as an attached file
after previous discussions on this matter.

Thank you - Mike Sullivan

Dr. Michael J. Sullivan
Journal Editor, Diatom Research
Biology Department
P.O. Box GY (substitute 130 Harned Hall, Lee Blvd. for Fed-X)
Mississippi State University
Miss. State, MS 39762, U.S.A.

Phone:  662-325-7575
FAX:    662-325-7939
E-mail: [log in to unmask]

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