Polar Biology

, Volume 28, Issue 7, pp 558–567 | Cite as

Growth and morphology variation as a response to changing environmental factors in two Arctic species of Raphidonema (Trebouxiophyceae) from snow and soil

  • Marek Stibal
  • Josef Elster
Original Paper


Two Arctic species of Raphidonema, a weakly filamentous green alga, were compared on the basis of their growth and morphology response to varied environmental factors. The strain of R. nivale was isolated from snow and R. sempervirens from soil collected in Svalbard. Morphological variability was evaluated in both strains, with emphasis laid on pleiomorphism of R. nivale. Growth characteristics in varied temperature and light were compared. Field observations were performed in summer 2003 at Werenskiold glacier, southwest Spitsbergen. In both strains, temperature and light were found to affect the shape and size of the cells, and in R. nivale also the number of cells in filament, probably by modifying growth and division rates. The strain of R. nivale grew best at 12°C and 200 μmol m−2 s−1, R. sempervirens at 18°C and 50 μmol m−2 s−1. In snow, R. nivale only appeared after katabatic wind had brought soil on the snow surface, and its concentrations decreased very rapidly. Cells of R. nivale in snow showed great signs of damage. On the basis of obtained results, it is suggested here that R. nivale is a soil species well adapted to soil environment, and only occasionally brought on snow.


Morphological Variability Snow Surface Division Rate Entire Sampling Period Katabatic Wind 
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This work was supported by the grants from the Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic (MSM 123100004 and Kontakt-ME 576) and from the EU projects QLRT-2000-01645 (COBRA) and LSF-52/2002. The Delegation Fund of the Faculty of Biological Sciences provided financial support for M.S. We thank all the members of the 9th Czech Glaciospeleological Expedition in Svalbard for help in the field. Three anonymous reviewers are thanked for constructive comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Biological Sciences Department of BotanyUniversity of South BohemiaČeské BudějoviceCzechia
  2. 2.Institute of BotanyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicTřeboňCzechia

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