Norrisiella sphaerica gen. et sp. nov., a new coccoid chlorarachniophyte from Baja California, Mexico


A new chlorarachniophyte, Norrisiella sphaerica S. Ota et K. Ishida gen. et sp. nov., from the coast of Baja California, Mexico is described. We examined its morphology, ultrastructure, and life cycle in detail, using light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and time-lapse videomicroscopy. We found that this chlorarachniophyte possessed the following characteristics: (1) vegetative cells were coccoid and possessed a cell wall, (2) a pyrenoid was slightly invaded by plate-like periplastidial compartment from the tip of the pyrenoid, (3) a nucleomorph was located near the pyrenoid base in the periplastidial compartment, (4) cells reproduced vegetatively via autospores, and (5) a flagellate stage was present in the life cycle. This combination of characteristics differs from any of the described chlorarachniophyte genera, and therefore a new genus is established. Fluorescent microscopic observations suggested that the alga formed multinucleate cells prior to forming autospores. Time-lapse observations during autospore formation showed that cytokinesis occurred simultaneously in the multinucleate cells. Zoospores were also produced, and video sequences captured the release of zoospores from coccoid cells.

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We are grateful to Dr. Yoshiaki Hara, Yamagata University, for his kind help with the field trip and TEM facilities. We are most grateful to Dr. Robert A. Andersen, Bigelow Laboratory, for critical comments and English corrections. This work was supported in part by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (#18570084) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.

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Correspondence to Shuhei Ota.

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Ota, S., Ueda, K. & Ishida, K. Norrisiella sphaerica gen. et sp. nov., a new coccoid chlorarachniophyte from Baja California, Mexico. J Plant Res 120, 661–670 (2007).

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  • Alga
  • Autospore
  • Chlorarachniophyceae
  • Life cycle
  • Taxonomy
  • Time-lapse video microscopy