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Investigation of morphological change of Aulacoseira baicalensis using a small desktop incubator controlling light and temperature

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A desktop incubator with temperature control over the range 1-20°C (±0.5°C) was designed to hold two microtitre plates. Illumination of individual wells in the plate was by a matrix of 96 light-emitting diodes, whose intensity, period and pulsation could be controlled individually in each of 12 rows of eight chambers. The incubator was used to test how the length of light period affected cell length of the planktonic diatom Aulacoseira baicalensis, which only grows below 4°C. Short cells (mean length 26 µm) were formed under a 8-h : 16-h light-dark cycle, intermediate cells (mean length 35 µm) under a 4-h : 20-h light-dark cycle and longer cells (mean 38 µm) under a 2-h : 22-h light-dark cycle. These were similar to changes in mean cell length from 28 to 49 µm found in Lake Baikal during a decrease in light period caused by increased convective mixing from 15 m under-ice to 94 m after ice break-up. The laboratory experiments confirmed that decreasing light period was the environmental cue that initiated the production of long cells that then developed into resting stages.
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Keywords: Aulacoseira; Baikal; desktop incubator; diatom; light period; morphological change

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Russian Academy of Sciences Siberian Division, Limnology Institute, Irkutsk, Russia 2: Freshwater Laboratory*, University of Ulster, BT45 6LR, N. Ireland, UK

Publication date: August 1, 2009

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