-New Publication: Shifting Boundaries-
During my work on the taxonomy of cyanobacteria throughout the last couple of years I isolated some strains that appeared to be strange – talking from a phylogenetic point of view. Usually, for environmental studies I’m sequencing only a short piece of the 16S which is sufficient to get an overview on the taxonomic position of a strain if it is combined to morphological investigations such as intensive microscopy. Nevertheless, chances are high that one can notice if a species might be a novel species weather due to morphological characteristics or a interesting position within the phylogenetic tree. This happened to me several times and last year, just before I switched my position, I had the chance for a closer look. I sequenced the complete 16S including 16-23ITS and parts of the 23S for the first time and the differences in morphology of the three strains were highly supported by the phylogenetic analysis so I described the isolates as new species.
All three strains are very interesting because my findings broadened the geological limit of the distribution of the three different genera the three new species fell into. This means that the study not only contributes to biodiversity but also changes the ecological view of some genera in total. I isolated one of the species from a microbial mat at the sandy beach of an island of the Netherlands, another one from hypolithic biofilm from the Atacama Desert and a third one from biocrusts from the Arctic Spitsbergen. If you look into the article you will find rattle snake-like morphologies, a spectacularly complex life cycle of one of the species and the unique feature for bacteria of a red tip full of orange pigments as well as a species that is the first in it’s genus which is not aquatic. Let’s check out my article called ‘Shifting Boundaries: ecological and geographical range extension based on three new species in the cyanobacterial genera Cyanocohniella, Oculatella and Aliterella’ which is published as open access in the Journal of Phycology.