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Scientific classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: incertae sedis
(unranked) Picobiliphyta

Picobiliphytes or Picobiliphyta are a group of eukaryotic algae, discovered in 2007,[1] which are found among the smallest members of photosynthetic picoplankton.

They are sometimes called "biliphytes".[2]



At the end of the 1990s with the European project "Picodiv" it would be clarified which organisms occur in picoplankton. In addition, for a period of two years, samples were taken in the Atlantic, in the Mediterranean, before the coast of Scotland, Alaska and Norway. Picobiliphyta were found particularly within the nutrient-poor ranges from cold coastal seas, where they can constitute up to 50 percent of the biomass.

Affinities to other organisms

Researchers investigated gene sequences of the 18S gene, common to all cells. The identity of new organisms can be deduced from a comparison of familiar and unfamiliar gene sequences. “The gene sequences found in these algae could not be associated with any previously known group of organisms”, explain Dr Klaus Valentin and Dr. Linda Medlin, co-authors of the study and molecular biologists at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven. The algae in this study were found in plankton samples originating from various regions of the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean. The scientists have discovered a group of organisms which, despite being completely new to science, have a wide distribution. “This is a good indication for how much there is still to discover in the oceans, especially using molecular tools”, says Valentin.

Apart from the unfamiliar gene sequences, the researchers also detected phycobiliproteins. [3] In red algae, for example, these proteins occur as pigments. But in this newly discovered group of algae, the phycobiliproteins appear to be contained inside the plastids,[4] where the photosynthesis occurs. Hence, it provides a clear indication that the researchers are dealing with previously unidentified group of algae. Referring to their small size and the presence of phycobiliproteins, the researchers named the new group "Picobiliphyta".

Some sources group picobiliphytes within the cryptomonads-haptophytes assemblage.[5]

See also

External links


  1. ^ Not F, Valentin K, Romari K, et al. (January 2007). "Picobiliphytes: a marine picoplanktonic algal group with unknown affinities to other eukaryotes". Science 315 (5809): 253–5. doi:10.1126/science.1136264. PMID 17218530.  
  2. ^ Okamoto, N.; Chantangsi, C.; Horák, A.; Leander, B.; Keeling, P. (2009). "Molecular Phylogeny and Description of the Novel Katablepharid Roombia truncata gen. Et sp. Nov., and Establishment of the Hacrobia Taxon nov". PloS one 4 (9): e7080. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007080. PMID 19759916.   edit
  3. ^ "Bizarre New Form of Life Found in Arctic Ocean, Scientists Announce". Retrieved 2009-06-17.  
  4. ^ Henrik Aronsson; Anna Stina Sandelius (2008). The Chloroplast: Interactions with the Environment (Plant Cell Monographs). Berlin: Springer. pp. 9. ISBN 3-540-68692-4.  
  5. ^ "Eukaryotes". Retrieved 2009-06-17.  


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