Godleya alpina Novis & Visnovsky, 2011

Novis, Phil M. & Visnovsky, Gabriel, 2011, Novel alpine algae from New Zealand: Cyanobacteria, Phytotaxa 22 (1), pp. 1-24 : 14

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https://doi.org/ 10.11646/phytotaxa.22.1.1

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Godleya alpina Novis & Visnovsky

gen. et sp. nov.

Godleya alpina Novis & Visnovsky , gen. et sp. nov. ( Figs 4A–N View FIGURE 4 )

Trichomata isopolaria uniseriata, cellulis 7–15 µm lata, 2.5–5 µm longa, semper brevioribus quam latioribus, materia contenta grandulari, ad parietes transversales subconstricta. Cellulae terminales rotundatae. Heterocyta ad utrumque polum intercalaria, interdum ante fragorem trichomatum geminata. Vagina pallide brunnea vel rufobrunnea usque ad 2 µm crassa. Pseudorami rariores, interdum laterales, maximam partem binarii per fragorem inter cellulas vegetativas, saepe post formationem flexus praesentes. Thylakoides peripherales in latum crescentes. Hormogonia plerumque longitudine cellularum 2–4, progressu isopolari. Trichomata in superficie agari prostrata.

Type:— NEW ZEALAND. Westland : Mt Philistine, 1400 m, preserved cultured specimen from sample collected 30 November 2007, CHR610793 View Materials .

Trichomes isopolar and uniseriate, cells 7–15 µm wide, 2.5–5 µm long, always shorter than wide, contents granular, slightly constricted at transverse walls ( Figs 4A–G View FIGURE 4 ). Terminal cells rounded ( Fig. 4H View FIGURE 4 ). Heterocytes intercalary with wall thickenings at each pole ( Fig. 4E View FIGURE 4 ), occasionally paired prior to trichome fragmentation ( Fig. 4F View FIGURE 4 ). Light brown to reddish-brown sheath up to 2 µm thick. False branching uncommon, occasionally lateral ( Fig. 4C View FIGURE 4 ), mainly binary through fragmentation between vegetative cells ( Fig. 4D View FIGURE 4 ), often occurring after loop formation ( Fig. 4I View FIGURE 4 ). Thylakoids peripheral and widened ( Fig. 4N View FIGURE 4 ). Hormogonia usually 2–4 cells long, with isopolar development ( Figs 4J–M View FIGURE 4 ). Trichomes prostrate on agar surface ( Fig. 4A View FIGURE 4 ).

Habitat:— Alpine herbfield soil, 1640 m, associated with scattered Chionochloa sp.

Distribution:— Mt Philistine, Arthur’s Pass National Park, New Zealand.

Etymology:— Named after the illustrious New Zealand botanist Dr Eric Godley.

Observations:— This species is difficult to classify. Although the isopolar trichomes, hormogonial development, and type of false branching suggest the family Scytonemataceae , 16S rDNA data group Godleya with an Antarctic specimen of Coleodesmium in the family Microchaetaceae . Results of the Bayesian analysis further unite this group into a clade with other representatives of this family ( Fig. 1 View FIGURE 1 ). The family Microchaetaceae is characterised by heteropolar trichome development ( Komárek & Anagnostidis 1989), which is not seen in Godleya , the false branching of which is also characteristic of Scytonemataceae . One possibility is that Coleodesmium sp. ANT.LH52B.5 is a misidentified member of the Scytonemataceae ; the descriptive material available for this strain ( Taton et al. 2006) lacks information on development of hormogonia or type of false branching. On the other hand, sequences from Scytonema and Scytonematopsis fall into a robustly supported clade in our analysis (albeit including some other taxa; Fig. 1 View FIGURE 1 ). If our interpretation of the molecular results is correct, the morphological features presently used to delimit the Scytonemataceae may be phylogenetically questionable.

Komárek & Anagnostidis (1989) note that microchaetacean taxa often form scytonematoid branching in culture. Superficially this could partly explain our results. However, the heterocytes with two pores and the strictly isopolar development of the trichomes, the latter especially a diacritical feature of Scytonemataceae , suggest otherwise.

Cultures:— LCR-CY2, LCR-CYTOL.

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