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Alga of the year 2011: Fragilariopsis cylindrus loves the extremes

Nine individual cells of Fragilariopsis cylindrus next to each other. Each cell contains two chloroplasts which used to produce energy in the process called photosynthesis. The accessory pigment fucoxanthin gives the chloroplasts their brown colour. Light microscopy: Dr Gerhard Dieckmann, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Germany

Algal researchers from the Phycology Section have declared the diatom Fragilariopsis cylindrus alga of the year 2011. ‘We are fascinated by this species because it can survive and even reproduce within the ice of the polar seas, one of the most extreme habitats on earth’ argues Professor Dr Peter Kroth from the University of Konstanz. Kroth is Chair of the Phycology Section of the German Botanical Society.

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