Phycologists of the Botanical Society of Germany have selected Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as alga of the year 2014. This unicellular green alga is distributed throughout the world. It is able to sense its light environment, is a fast swimmer and is highly appreciated by algal and plant researchers as well as medical scientists as a model organism. The tiny alga has become an ideal organism for studying a variety of biological questions including a specific diurnal behavior which is triggered by an endogenous clock. Its intriguing features include its way of light perception using a primitive visual system and the transfer of the information to motile cilia; and it can protect itself from bursting by discharging excessive water. Chlamydomonas even provides the basis for the establishment of novel scientific areas in neurobiology and medicine, such as optogenetics where genetically modified cells are applied as ‘light switches’.
Photos of the press release "Alga of the Year 2014: Chlamydomonas reinhardtii - a fast swimmer serves as a model organism
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Mergenhagen, 1986, Naturwissenschaften 73: 410-412
Merchant et al., 2007, Science 318: 245-251
Hegemann, 2008, Annual Review Plant Biology 59: 167-189
Schulze et al., 2010, Protoplasma 244: 3-14
More information about this alga are available at: www.chlamy.org
Professor Dr. Maria Mittag
Expert for molecular mechanisms of day and night rhythms in microalgae, especially in the green alga Chlamydomonas. Also member of the board of the Phycology Section
Institute of General Botany and Plant Physiology, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Am Planetarium 1, 07743 Jena, Germany
Phone: ++49 (0)3641 – 949 201
PD Dr. Burkhard Becker
Expert for contractile vacuoles and also member of the board of the Phycology Section
Botanisches Institut, Universität Köln, Zülicherstr. 47b, 50674 Köln, Germany
Phone: ++49 (0)221-4707022
Members of the Phycology Section (Algology) (www.dbg-phykologie.de/en.html) conduct research on algae and investigate, amongst others, taxonomical, ecological, physiological and molecular topics on macro- and microalgae. The Section promotes algal research and supports young scientists. The Section is one of five subject-specific Sections of the German Society for Plant Sciences (Deutsche Botanische Gesellschaft, DBG, www.deutsche-botanische-gesellschaft.de/en.html).
Text: Dr. Esther Schwarz-Weig: www.Sci-Stories.com
Translation: Prof.in Dr. Maria Mittag and Dr. Inka Bartsch, Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Bremerhaven