Press release

Ancient and still a pioneer: the Blue-Green Rock Dweller is alga of the year 2017

Cross fractured Beacon sandstone from Antarctica exposing the habitat of the blue-green rock dweller (Chroococcidiopsis) as a green band underneath the surface of the rock (arrows). Photo: Burkhard Büdel, TU Kaiserslautern

Algal researchers nominated the Blue-Green Rock Dweller Chroococcidiopsis for the alga of the year 2017. The single celled organism lives inside rocks and lichens, survives extreme climatic conditions and makes hostile environments accessible – today and most likely thousands of millions of years ago as well. While doing so, it paved the way for plants and animals. The blue-green rock dweller, belonging to the cyanobacteria lives like all algae, from sunlight, and is of great interest to ecologists, biotechnologists, and desert- and space researchers. It is the favorite research subject of Prof. Dr. Burkhard Büdel from the University of Kaiserslautern, who has been investigating it for more than 30 years. He is a member of the Phycology Section of the German Society for Plant Sciences, in which the algal researches are organized and who nominate this year an alga of the year for the tenth time this year.

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Press release

More images of the Blue-green Rock Dweller Chroococcidiopsis

Weathered Beacon sandstone at the Linnaeus Terrace region of the Dry Valleys at 1250 meters altitude. Under the rock surface the Blue-Green Rock Dweller (Chroococcidiopsis) lives in the frosty cold of Antarctica. Photo: Burkhard Büdel, TU Kaiserslautern

Photos for the press release Alga of the year 2017: Blue-Green Rock Dweller – ancient and still a pioneer 


Use of the images is only permitted in connection with reporting on the topic ‘alga of the year 2016’ 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 (habitats, close-ups, look inside)

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Contacts for the media

Prof. Dr. Burkhard Büdel

Expert for Chroococcidiopsis and other soil crust inhabitants

University of Kaiserslautern, Biology
Plant Ecology & Systematics
Erwin-Schrödinger-Street 13
D-67663 Kaiserslautern
E-mail: buedel[at]

Secretary: Andrea Brunner
Phone: +49 (0)631 205 2363
If not available: mobile +49 (0)171 436 7889

Dr. Maike Lorenz

Curator of Culture Collection of Algae at Göttingen University (SAG) and Treasurer of Section of Phycology

Georg-August-University Göttingen
Culture Collection of Algae (SAG)
Nikolausberger Weg 18
37073 Göttingen

Phone: +49 (0)551 39-5740
E-mail: mlorenz[at] 

Futher Information

The Section is the largest network of phycology and algal research in the German-speaking area ( As a non-profit organization of the German Society for Plant Sciences (DBG, the Section of Phycology promotes research and aims to also excite the non-specialists about the fascinating world of algae. The section supports young scientists, unites researchers of all generations and supports the scientific discourse of its members.