Unique Collections of Algae

Select Algal Collections Available at UTEX

Freshwater Diatom Collection

David B. Czarnecki began collecting and studying freshwater diatoms as a graduate student. His collection moved with him to Loras College in 1984, where it was named and recognized universally among freshwater diatomists as the Loras College Freshwater Diatom Culture Collection. The Collection was maintained through grants to Loras College from the Iowa Science Foundation and the Iowa College Foundation.

In February 2006 Dr. Czarnecki requested that The Loras College Freshwater Diatom Collection be transferred from Loras College to UTEX. Loras College subsequently donated the entire collection to UTEX as a gift. Dr. Czarnecki died in May 2006. Strains from his collection that are maintained at UTEX will continue to be listed as the Loras College Freshwater Diatom Culture Collection in memory of Dave Czarnecki's service to the community of freshwater diatomists.

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Published works about this Collection:

Czarnecki, D.B. 1987. The freshwater diatom culture collection at Loras College. Notulae Naturae Philosophical Academy of Natural Science. 465: 1-16.

Czarnecki, D.B. 1994. The freshwater diatom culture collection at Loras College, Dubuque, IA. In Kociolek, J. P. [Ed.] Proceedings of the XI International Diatom Symposium, San Francisco. Memoirs of the California Academy of Science, San Francisco, CA, USA, No. 17: 155-73.

Czarnecki, D.B. & Ross, M.J. 1988. The Itasca State Park Algal Culture Collection at Loras College. Journal of Minnesota Academy of Science 53: 27-32.

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Extreme Environment Collection

Extreme Environment Algae are strains of terrestrial algae collected from various extreme environments such as Antarctica and the Gobi Desert. This collection maintained by Dr. Imre Friedmann has been deposited in the Culture Collection of Algae at The University of Texas. These strains have now been cryopreserved and are maintained in indefinite storage under liquid nitrogen. Some of them are well documented and their characteristics described; others have only been identified to family. Information on the documented strains will be added to this web site as time permits. The extreme environment algae collection was deposited in 2003 and formally accessioned into UTEX February 2005.

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Salt Plains Collection

The Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge in northwest Oklahoma, USA is a moist soil habitat characterized by highly fluctuating salinity (ranging from freshwater to NaCl saturation) and temperature extremes (sometimes exceeding 50 °C). A broad range of halotolerant soil algae occur in this habitat, sometimes within microbial mats or in shallow pools.

A diverse range of Chlorophyceae, Bacillariophyceae and Cyanophyceae have been isolated and provided tentative identification by Dr. Andrea Kirkwood, and representative strains have been deposited in UTEX by Dr. William Henley. These strains have now been cryopreserved and are maintained at UTEX in indefinite storage under liquid nitrogen. 

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Snow Algae Collection

The culture collection of snow algae maintained by Dr. Ron Hoham at Colgate University has been deposited in the Culture Collection of Algae at the University of Texas at Austin. The strains in this collection have all been isolated from snow and have been maintained at temperatures below 6 °C since their isolation. This collection includes isolates from eastern and western North America collected over a 35-year time period, and also includes isolates from Antarctica. Multiple isolates of the same taxon are maintained to permit research at the population level.

Most of the algae in this collection are members of Chlorophyta, but several strains are yellow-green algae (Xanthophyceae) and a few are golden algae (Chrysophyceae). Nearly all strains in the collection have been cryopreserved and in the future will be maintained at UTEX only at liquid nitrogen temperature.

These strains will survive transport at room temperature and that is the most reliable way to ship, but there is concern from the depositor that allowing them to warm during shipment may select for genotypes that are not as cold-adapted. Cultures will be shipped in a large styrofoam cooler box with ice pack.

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National Alliance for Advance Biofuels and Bio-products (NAABB) Collection

The National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts (NAABB), a consortium of universities, research institutions, and companies funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, has made 30 of their best performing strains available to the public through UTEX. These strains are well characterized for lipid production and growth kinetics.

January 2023 Update: All 30 strains have been officially accessioned into the Collection and no longer require a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA).

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Marine Cladophorales Collection

A collection of marine siphonocladous green algae (Cladophorales), originally assembled by John A. West, has been deposited in the Culture Collection of Algae at the University of Texas at Austin. Siphonocladous algae are multicellular with thalli composed of coenocytic cells (cells possessing multiple nuclei). The cells of these algae can be quite large reaching a diameter of 2-3 centimeters in some species.

This collection was maintained by the R. Malcolm Brown Jr. Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin for more than 30 years during which time they were used extensively as models for cellulose biosynthesis research. The collection includes 29 strains with 13 named species spanning 10 genera.

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Euglenid Collection

The research collection of Euglenids, assembled and maintained by the Richard Triemer Laboratory at Michigan State University, has been deposited in the Culture Collection of Algae at The University of Texas at Austin. The collection comprises 65 strains with 31 named species spanning 8 genera. The collection primarily includes strains collected in North America, but also includes confirmed toxic strains of Euglena sanguinea from Argentina and Denmark.

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Dasycladales Macroalgae Collection

The Dasycladales are among the most improbable unicellular organisms that exist. They represent an order of green algae that already existed during the Cambrium period, 570 million years ago. With only 11 extant genera of the Dasycladales alive today--indicating an extinction of this order is at hand, recent species have been designated "living fossils." Well-preserved fossil relicts together with the availability of recent species have allowed paleontologists to gain detailed insight into the evolution of a plant order. These large unicellular organisms make them especially well-suited research objects for the study of different aspects of cell biology in order to understand basic phenomena of life. They are so large that one can enucleate a single cell with one's bare hands, and both nucleate and enucleate portions can survive and even exhibit potential for development for some weeks.

This unique collection of Dasycladales cultures was originally set up at the Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology by renowned researchers in cell biology: Joachim Hämmerling (1901-1980) and Hans-Georg Schweiger (1927-1986). The collection was then deposited at UTEX in 2002 by Dr. Sigrid Berger who maintained these fascinating organisms up until the Max Planck Institute closed. 

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