Subaerial algae are photosynthetic microalgae inhabiting terrestrial ecosystems. They are typically seen growing on rocky surfaces, walls, tree bark, and other exposed surfaces. While the potential of these algae for the energy and food industries is promising, they remain poorly characterized in southern Georgia. To address this situation, we have isolated and begun to characterize a number of strains of subaerial algae from the region. In our previous studies, two isolates, one from the side of an aluminium shed, the other from a brick wall in Waycross, Georgia, were identified as members of Coelastrella multistriata (Chlorophyta, Chlorophyceae) on the basis of morphology. Analysis of the 18s rRNA sequence, however, suggested that the two strains are actually cryptic species in Coelastrella. The current research seeks to clarify this issue. DNA will be extracted from both strains using a modification of the CTAB procedure. This time, in addition to the gene for 18s rRNA gene, the ITS and rbcL regions will be amplified and sequenced; the latter two sequences are thought to provide better resolution at the species level than 18s sequences alone. The resultant sequences will be compared with sequences associated with the genus Coelastrella available in the NCBI database, which should clarify the position of these two strains.

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