Press release

Fragilariopsis cylindrus loves the extremes

When ice floes break up and turn over due to heavy seas, their brown lower surface is revealed. Here diatoms such as Fragilariopsis multiply and impose a brown hue on the sea ice; the piece of ice on this image is about 2 mm in length. Photo Dr. Thomas Mock, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Great Britain

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 . Peter Kroth is Chair of the Phycology Section of the German Society for Plant Sciences (DBG).

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Press release

More images of the alga Fragilariopsis cylindrus

The diatom Fragilariopsis cylindrus survives in small channels that are formed in the ice when seawater freezes. In the extreme habitats extreme temperatures can reach - 30 ºC, with a salinity up to four times that of normal seawater, and an extreme shortage of light. To survive in this brine soup, the diatoms need to protect themselves from freezing, high salinity and develop an efficient photosynthetic apparatus. This is why algal researchers find the species so fascinating. Light microscopy: Dr. Karen Junge, University of Washington , USA

Photos of the press release "Alga of the Year" 2011: Fragilariopsis cylindrus loves the extremes


Use of the images is only permitted in connection with reporting on the topic ‘alga of the year 2011’ and only if the photographers are acknowledged in the format: first name, second name, institution. Commercial use of the images is not permitted.

download more images (details, habitat, close up)

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Contacts for the media

Prof. Dr. Peter Kroth

Speaker of the Phycology Section

Universität Konstanz, Fachbereich Biologie

Phone: ++49 (0) 7531-884816
E-mail: peter.kroth[at]

Dr. Thomas Mock

Head of the sequence program and expert on Fragilariopsis cylindrus

School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

Phone: ++44 (0)1603 592566 oder ++44 (0) 1603592163
E-mail: T.Mock[at]

Further Information

Members of the Phycology Section (Algology) ("> conduct research on algae and investigate, amongst others, taxonomical, ecological, physiological and molecular topics on macro- and microalgae. The Section promotes algal research and supports young scientists. The Section is one of five subject-specific Sections of the German Society for Plant Sciences (Deutsche Botanische Gesellschaft, DBG,

Text: Dr. Esther Schwarz-Weig:">
Translation: Dr. Thomas Mock and Dr. Dagmar Stengl, National University of Ireland, Galway