Project Hydrurus - an alga for cold rivers
Hydrurus foetidus (Vill.) Trev. is one of the few macroscopic freshwater golden algae (Class Chrysophyceae) - and, contrary to most other sessile freshwater algae, it prefers winter conditions in rivers and brooks where temperature is near to 0° C. During the first months of spring, it may bloom and cover the bottom where turbulence is high and light conditions are best. At Finse, the Garpefoss out of lake Finsevatn is a locus classicus - studied by Strøm for his doctoral dissertation (see Strøm 1926), and where Hydrurus still occurs regularly from end of February through the spring months.
The outlet of lake Finsevatn, with the open part of the river - and the old power station "Garpen" at left in the picture (from February 2007). Here, Hydrurus developed dense stands in the 1920-ies (possibly due to sewage from the hotel built at Finse before the opening of the Oslo-Bergen railroad 1909). This location is our main sampling site for genomic sequencing and culturing efforts.
We have sequenced the the ssu and lsu rDNA sequences of the wild material - it is deposited in the NCBI genbank (accession no's FM955256 and FM955257) and a phylogenetic analysis has been done (Klaveness et al. 2011). Now, since we had success in cultivating Hydrurus under laboratory conditions (Klaveness & Lindstrøm 2011), we plan to study the structure of the peculiar polysaccharide protecting the alga from disruption in the strong currents where it prefers to live, its tolerance to specific compounds in rivers in Norway, and its evolutionary aquired morphological plasticity or possible species diversity. The latter are to be discussed in relation to genetic information from many more locations.
If you are looking for an interesting master's thesis, contact the project leader.
Litterature on the river from lake Finsevatn:
Klaveness, D.,Bråte, J., Patil, V., Shalchian-Tabrizi, K., Kluge, R., Gislerød, H:R. & Jakobsen, K.S. 2011. The 18S and 28S rDNA identity and phylogeny of the common lotic chrysophyte Hydrurus foetidus. European Journal of Phycology 46 (3), 282-291.
Klaveness, D. & Lindstrøm, E-A. 2011. Hydrurus foetidus (Chromista, Chrysophyceae): A large freshwater chromophyte alga in laboratory culture. Phycological Research 59, 105-112.
Strøm, K.M. 1926. Norwegian mountain algae. An account of the biology, ecology and distribution of the algae and pelagic invertebrates in the region surrounding the mountain crossing of the Bergen railway. – Skrifter, Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi i Oslo I. Mat.-Naturv. Klasse. 1926. No. 6. 263 p + Pl. I-XXV