Collaborative Projects

We have initiated several collaborative projects based on our collections in both Itasca State Park and Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge.  Among these collaborative projects are:

Taxonomy of Desmodesmus  (Chlorophyceae)

A collaborative project with Dr. Eberhard Hegewald, one of the foremost authorities on the taxonomy of Desmodesmus and the Scenedesmaceae.  Our efforts are focused on ITS and rbcL sequence analysis of specific lineages in Desmodesmus.  The first lineage to be examined is the D. serratus group.

Mechanisms of cold adaptation in chlamydomonads.  

For this project, we are using chlamydomonads that we isolated during the winter from both Arrowwood and Itasca.  Initial work is focusing on a single isolate and students have already demonstrated that this isolate (initially referred to as 8w, now identified as Chlamydomonas altera), a chlamydomonad in the Chlamydomonas noctagama lineage, grows best at cold temperatures.  This result is in contrast to Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, which grows very poorly in the cold.  A study of the changes in gene expression associated with cold adaptations is essentially complete, and indicates that at least 30 genes are differentially expressed when 8w is grown in the cold versus warm.  This work employs the C. reinhardtii cDNA microarray.


Dr. Ron Hutchison, Stockton College of New Jersey

Dr. Mark Anderson, formerly of North Dakota State University

Lipids of Choricystis

We have detected extensive variation in the 18S rDNA and rbcL sequences of the tiny coccoid green alga Choricystis.  Different strains and species of Botryococcus, a related genus, has been shown to have different lipid profiles.  In this project, the lipids of isolates from different lineages of Choricystis will be investigated.  Preliminary results already indicate that these lineages do, in fact, have some differences in lipids and lipid content.


Dr. Pierre Metzgar, Ecole Nationale Superieure de Chimie de Paris

Phylogeny of Pediastrum and related genera

We have supplied isolates of Pediastrum as well as water samples for additional isolations to Hilary McManus for her study on the phylogeny of this interesting group of green algae.  Hilary is a graduate student working with Dr. Louise Lewis at the University of Connecticut.

Phylogeny of Botryococcus

We are collaborating with a group in the UK on the phylogeny of Botryococcus, a genus of coccoid green algae that typically produces large amounts of lipids.  We have several isolates from Itasca and we are presently working on the ribosomal ITS sequences of these organisms as well as some additional isolates.  Unfortunately, our collaborator has moved into administration and it is unclear when this work will be completed and published.


Dr. Gordon Beakes, University of Newcastle

Ethan Hack

Phylogeny and systematics of Oogamochlamys and Lobochlamys

Thomas Pröschold, curator at the Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa at the Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory, UK, has taken all 31 of our isolates from this chlamydomonad lineage. These are now listed in the CCAP as cultures 11/138-11/168.   He is presently working on ITS sequencing and mating experiments with these isolates and other isolates from this lineage from different locations.  Based on our sequences published in GenBank, he expects to describe a new genus with at least 5 species.

New species of the Watanabea lineage (Trebouxiophyceae)

Curt Pueschel, SUNY Binghamton, is working with us to describe new speices of this coccoid green algal genus.  We have four isolates that are closely related to Watanabea reniformis based on 18S rDNA sequences.  Dr. Pueschel is performing the transmission electron microscopy necessary for characterizing these new species.