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Vol. 40, No. 2, 2008

pp. 355-363

Optimum Growth Temperatures of Three Species of Green Chloromonas Snow Algae from Upstate New York and the White Mountains, Arizona

Ronald W. Hoham, Frank M. Frey, William W. Mohn, Joy H. Felio, Sarah Todd, Jared E. Duncan, and James B. Banghart

The optimum temperatures of three species of snow algae were studied using four strains of Chloromonas (Cr.) rosae v. psychrophila, six strains of Cr. tughillensis, and one strain of Cr. chenangoensis. These axenic strains were from Upstate New York except for two of Cr. rosae v. psychrophila from the White Mountains, Arizona. Temperatures tested were from 2.5 to 20°C. The high elevation subalpine Cr. rosae v. psychrophila from New York and Arizona grew from 4 to 20°C and had the greatest cell counts at 4 to 15°C. In contrast, the subalpine to temperate low elevation strains of Cr. tughillensis grew from 2.5 to 10°C and optimally at 2.5 or 5°C, and Cr. chenangoensis grew from 2.5 to 7.5°C and optimally at 2.5 and 5°C. Chloromonas tughillensis and Cr. chenangoensis belong to a genetic subclade with low temperature optima, whereas Cr. rosae v. psychrophila belongs to a subclade with broad temperature optima. In acclimation experiments, there were no significant differences in cell counts when acclimating two Adirondack, New York, strains of Cr. rosae v. psychrophila for two weeks prior to experiments vs. using non-acclimated strains that were moved from 4°C directly to 4, 10, 15, or 20°C. For Cr. tughillensis, four of six strains had significantly higher cell counts when grown at 2.5°C after acclimation at 7.5°C for five months. These are the first reports of temperature optima of snow algae from eastern North America.