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Genetic variation and structure of the endangered freshwater benthic alga Marimo, Aegagropila linnaei (Ulvophyceae) in Japanese lakes

Author:
Akiko Soejima   Natsuko Yamazaki   Takako Nishino and Isamu Wakana  


Journal:
Aquatic Ecology


Issue Date:
2009


Abstract(summary):

Aegagropila linnaei is a freshwater green alga of the order Cladophorales, which is well known as ‘Marimo’ in Japan for its beautiful spherical form as lake balls in Lake Akan. Lake Akan is the only lake in which spherical ‘Marimo’ is found in Japan, but the species also grows as floating or epilithic filaments which appear in several other Japanese lakes. The spherical growth form usually reproduces vegetatively, and it is not known if the species also reproduces sexually or whether transformation between different growth forms happens in natural populations. In this study, the genetic diversity of A. linnaei in Japan was investigated using isozyme analysis. Apart from one colony in Lake Ogawara, each colony was genetically homogeneous, which suggests that asexual reproduction is dominant. All the non-epilithic (spherical aggregations, floating filaments, and floating tufts) colonies in Lake Akan were genetically similar, regardless of the location of sites within the lake, while epilithic colonies have different genetic structures. Therefore, transformation or gene flow between epilithic and non-epilithic forms is not evident in natural populations. Because the genetic diversity largely depends on epilithic algae in Lake Akan, it is important to conserve epilithic- as well as spherical-colonies.


Page:
359-370


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