Insights into the red algae and eukaryotic evolution from the genome of Porphyra umbilicalis (Bangiophyceae, Rhodophyta)

Dr. Senjie Lin and his current and former Ph. D. graduate students, Brittany Sprecher and Yunyun Zhuang, engaged in an international collaboration to sequence Porphyra umbilicalis’ nuclear genome. Their efforts revealed how the red algae has been able to thrive in the harsh intertidal zone under exposure to high UV radiation, changing temperatures, and severe osmotic stress and desiccation for more than a billion years. Porphyra umbilicalis belongs to an ancient group of red algae, Bangiophyceae, and is a valuable human food source.

The team’s analysis found that P. umbilicalis has a small set of cytoskeleton motor proteins (explaining why red algae are smaller in size when compared to most multicellular lineages), several cellular mechanisms to cope with the stressful environment, and a high capacity for nutrient uptake and utilization.

Major support for the genome sequencing was through a contract with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute, sequencing analysis was supported by a National Science Foundations Research Collaboration Network grant, and the project was led by Dr. Susan Brawley at the University of Maine. The findings are published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Porphyra umbilicalis
(Yuanyu Cao/University of New Hampshire)

Study will sample water in Long Island Sound this summer

Save the Sound has launched a groundbreaking water testing program that will dramatically increase available data on the health of Long Island Sound. The bi-state non-profit organization already issues a closely watched “report card” on the health of the estuary. Now, the Unified Water Study: Long Island Sound Embayment Research will test water conditions in the Sound’s bays and harbors.

Read more by following the links below!

Jessica Hinckley receives a 2017 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) award

Sophomore marine sciences student Jessica Hinckley is the recipient of a summer undergraduate research fellowship (SURF) where she will be working on a pioneering carbon dioxide time series in Long Island Sound with Prof Penny Vlahos. Jessica will be investigating trends and responses of dissolved carbon dioxide and oxygen under various temperature and wind conditions.

Image credit Julia Kendzierski.

Uconn Student is Outstanding Student Paper Award Recipient

Danielle Boshers, a graduate student with Julie Granger, received an Outstanding Student Paper Award (OSPA) for her talk at the American Geophysical Union 2016 Fall Meeting. OSPAs are awarded to promote, recognize, and reward the top 3-5% of student presenters for quality research in the geophysical sciences. The topic of her presentation was Oxygen Isotope Composition of Nitrate Produced by Freshwater Nitrification.