Journal article

Viator vitreocola gen. et sp. nov. (Stylonematophyceae), a new red alga on drift glass debris in Oregon and Washington, USA

Gayle Hansen, John A West, Hwan Su Yoon, Christopher D Goodman, Susan Loiseaux-de Goer, Giuseppe C Zuccarello



A new encrusting red alga was found growing abundantly on glass debris items that drifted ashore along the coasts of Oregon and Washington. These included discarded fluorescent tubes, incandescent light bulbs, capped liquor bottles, and ball-shaped fishing-net floats. Field collections and unialgal cultures of the alga revealed that it consisted of two morphological phases: a young loosely aggregated turf and a mature consolidated mucilaginous crust. The turf phase consisted of a basal layer of globose cells that produced erect, rarely branched, uniseriate to multiseriate filaments up to 500 µm long with closely spaced cells lacking pit-plugs. These filaments expanded in size from their base..

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Awarded by National Research Foundation of Korea

Funding Acknowledgements

All authors contributed personal funding for this project, and additional help was provided by our various universities. GIH was given an outside worker laboratory at the US Environmental Protection Agency in Newport, Oregon. For culturing and photography, JAW and CDG were provided facilities and supplies at the University of Melbourne, made possible by Geoff McFadden. GCZ and HSY maintain laboratories at their universities and rely on various other funds for supplies and sequencing. HSY received partial funding from the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2017R1A2B3001923). The SEM photograph was provided by Bill Rugh and Bonnie Smith of the US EPA. For the new genus and species, Michael Guiry provided a valuable exchange of ideas on the Latin name and also important nomenclatural advice. For accessioning herbarium specimens, we thank Mark Hurd for accessioning the holotype culture at CCMP, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, West Boothbay Harbor, Maine, and Melanie Link-Perez and Aaron Liston of OSC, Oregon State University at Corvallis, for accessioning the original fluorescent tube from which the holotype culture was taken. Also, Nimal Karunajeewa and Pina Milne (the Royal Botanical Gardens, Melbourne), Michael J. Wynne (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), and Kathy Ann Miller (University Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley) were provided with isotype cultures of Viator vitreocola. We are particularly grateful to Russ Lewis and GRGG (the Grass Roots Garbage Gang) for their persistent efforts in collecting drift samples in Washington from 2013 to 2018. Marilyn Leary (Oregon State University) provided a drift incandescent lightbulb with the crust, and SOLVE (Stop Oregon Litter and Vandalism) gave us access to items collected during their 2018 Spring Oregon Beach Cleanup where the initial fluorescent tube was discovered.