In a study lead by Fabian Meili (MSc, 2015) and Laura Hilton (PhD, 2013), we identified several new deflagellation genes, opening up possible new directions for our work. We are finishing up the manuscript and considering which path we’ll follow.
At the same time, Lynne is developing a new project at the intersection of cell biology and ecology, studying a sister species of our beloved C. reinhardtii: C. nivalis, also known as watermelon snow algae.
C. nivalis grows in thin layers of melt water on the surface of snow and ice. The alga protects itself from intense UV irradiation by synthesizing red pigment granules, making the snow look pink or red. White snow reflects the Sun’s rays, but the red granules of C. nivalis absorb heat, causing further warming.
C. nivalis lives intimately with a microbial community of fungi, bacteria and viruses. The algae produce mucus that traps and holds the microbes. We’ll be studying the relationships between these various organisms and how they might function together as a biological entity for evolutionary selection.