Nora Stingl's Master thesis was awarded with the Prize for the Best Plant Science Master Thesis, which was carried out at Philipps Universität Marburg in the year 2020.
Title: Establishment and optimization of new model organisms to study early land plant evolution
Stingl successfully established three new model organisms and optimised their cultivation conditions for future studies on the conquest of land by plants.
The establishment of new model organisms is crucial to study the water to land transition of plants, which set the fundament to nature how we know it. It is widely accepted that one group from the charophyte algae, more accurate from the ZCC paraphylum, gave rise to the ancestor of land plants. Since no model organisms have yet been established in this group, three organisms were selected as potential model organisms: Chara braunii, Spirogyra pratensis and Mougeotia scalaris. Within this work protocols for laboratory cultivation of all three organisms could be developed. Additionally, sexual reproduction of C. braunii and S. pratensis was successfully induced repeatedly and a protocol for germination of C. braunii oospores was established.
Within the land plants the bryophytes are considered sister taxons of the vascular plants and the hornwort Anthoceros agrestis is already established as a model organism. In this thesis, studies on in vitro cultivation were performed and different growth and germination behavior between axenic and non-axenic cultures could be observed.
Nora Stingl conducted this work at the department of biology in the lab of Prof. Dr. Stefan A. Rensing.