Polar Microalgae: New Approaches towards Understanding Adaptations to an Extreme and Changing Environment

Lyon, Barbara and Mock, Thomas (2014) Polar Microalgae: New Approaches towards Understanding Adaptations to an Extreme and Changing Environment. RNA Biology, 3 (1). pp. 56-80. ISSN 1547-6286

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Abstract

Polar Regions are unique and highly prolific ecosystems characterized by extreme environmental gradients. Photosynthetic autotrophs, the base of the food web, have had to adapt physiological mechanisms to maintain growth, reproduction and metabolic activity despite environmental conditions that would shut-down cellular processes in most organisms. High latitudes are characterized by temperatures below the freezing point, complete darkness in winter and continuous light and high UV in the summer. Additionally, sea-ice, an ecological niche exploited by microbes during the long winter seasons when the ocean and land freezes over, is characterized by large salinity fluctuations, limited gas exchange, and highly oxic conditions. The last decade has been an exciting period of insights into the molecular mechanisms behind adaptation of microalgae to the cryosphere facilitated by the advancement of new scientific tools, particularly “omics” techniques. We review recent insights derived from genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics studies. Genes, proteins and pathways identified from these highly adaptable polar microbes have far-reaching biotechnological applications. Furthermore, they may provide insights into life outside this planet, as well as glimpses into the past. High latitude regions also have disproportionately large inputs into global biogeochemical cycles and are the region most sensitive to climate change.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: polar microalgae,physiology,genomics,proteomics,biogeochemistry,sea ice,oceanography,adaptation,evolution,environment
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 01 May 2015 16:22
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2020 00:42
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/53354
DOI: 10.3390/biology3010056

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