Department Experimental Phycology and Culture Collection of Algae (EPSAG)

Welcome to the Webpage of the Department Experimental Phycology and Culture Collection of Algae (EPSAG)

Algae are important primary producers and incredibly diverse

The Sammlung von Algenkulturen der Universität Göttingen (SAG)

Algae include photosynthetically active eukaryotes and prokaryotic cyanobacteria. The EPSAG department teaches and researches the biodiversity of algae. ... is a comprehensive biological resource centre for living culture material of microalgae and is one of the largest algae service collections in the world.
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Press release: Algae provide clues about 600 million years of plant evolution

Research team led by Göttingen University investigates 10 billion RNA snippets to identify "hub genes". Plant terrestrialization brought forth the land plants (embryophytes). Embryophytes account for most of the biomass on land and evolved from streptophyte algae in a singular event. Recent advances have unraveled the first full genomes of the closest algal relatives of land plants; among the first such species was Mesotaenium endlicherianum. A fine-combed RNA sequencing was used in this study in tandem with a photophysiological assessment on Mesotaenium endlicherianum strain SAG 12.97 exposed to a continuous range of temperature and light cues. The data establish a grid of 42 different conditions, resulting in 128 transcriptomes and ~1.5 Tbp (~9.9 billion reads) of data to study the combinatory effects of stress response using clustering along gradients. Mesotaenium shares with land plants major hubs in genetic networks underpinning stress response and acclimation. The data suggest that lipid droplet formation and plastid and cell wall-derived signals have denominated molecular programmes since more than 600 million years of streptophyte evolution—before plants made their first steps on land.

Press Release

Dadras A, Fürst-Jansen JMR, Darienko T et al. "Environmental gradients reveal stress hubs predating plant terrestrialization", Nature Plants 2023 DOI: 10.1038/s41477-023-01491-0

New Project on Freshwater Red Algae: Pioneering Work in DNA-Based Species Identification

The project focuses on the study and identification of freshwater red algae in Germany using DNA-based methods. It aims to document and catalogue the species diversity of these algae, which are important bioindicators for ecological assessments, using innovative and precise scientific genome analysis techniques. The development of a corresponding methodology for genetic differentiation of species is crucial to capture the diversity of freshwater red algae, some of which are difficult to identify based on their physical appearance. more...

Student Team in Research-Oriented Teaching and Learning - FoLL: Algae in Soil: How is Their Biodiversity Influenced by Different Land Use and Vegetation? Research at the Biodiversity Exploratory Hainich-Dün

In the FoLL project of EPSAG, we work within an ongoing DFG research project. The students are part of a team that collaborates closely with doctoral candidate Yağmur Tarhana Çakır and technical staff member Birgit Olberg. The research goal is to assess the biodiversity of algae and cyanobacteria in the upper soil layers as well as in associated habitats such as dead wood and tree bark. The influence of different types of land use on the biodiversity of soil algae in forests and grasslands is also examined to identify the factors determining this biodiversity.
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What is FoLL?

Doctoral and Master Students in New Research Project

Soil algae and cyanobacteria: Changes in their biodiversity in forests and grasslands along gradients of land use and intensity (DNA sequence analyses based on amplicon-based NGS metabarcoding)
more: Doctoral position (m/f/d)...
more: Master's theses...

New publication: Testing for terrestrial and freshwater microalgae productivity under elevated CO2 conditions and nutrient limitation

Microalgae CO2 fixation results in the production of biomass rich in high-valuable products, such as fatty acids and carotenoids. A large variety of 81 defined algal strains, including new green algal isolates from various terrestrial environments, were studied for their growth under atmospheres with CO2 levels of 5–25% in air. Green algae originating from terrestrial environments, Chlorophyceae and Trebouxiophyceae, exhibited enhanced productivity of carotenoids and fatty acids under elevated CO2 concentrations. This ability supports the economic and sustainable production of valuable compounds from these microalgae using inexpensive sources of high CO2 concentrations, such as industrial exhaust fumes. The tests of four new strains under 15% CO2 aeration revealed an even further increase of carotenoid and fatty acid contents when combined with nitrogen starvation.

Kryvenda, A., Tischner, R., Steudel, B., Griehl, C., Armon, R., and Friedl, T. (2023). Testing for terrestrial and freshwater microalgae productivity under elevated CO2 conditions and nutrient limitation. BMC Plant Biology 23, 27.
Publication: doi: 10.1186/s12870-023-04042-z

Press release: Algae reveal clues about climate changes over millions of years

Göttingen University scientists identify and investigate algae which register sea water temperatures of the warmest months. Link to the article and link to the publication (The Long chain Diol Index: A marine palaeotemperature proxy based on eustigmatophyte lipids that records the warmest seasons; Rampen, Friedl, Rybalka and Thiel; 2022).