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The nature of growth in the biofuel feedstock and bloom-forming green macroalga Ulva

YOON, KEVIN,JONG,COOK (2020) The nature of growth in the biofuel feedstock and bloom-forming green macroalga Ulva. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Ulva is a genus of multicellular green algae that is phylogenetically similar to uni- cellular green algae such as Chlamydomonas and Ostreococcus. Ulva is present in much of the coastal benthic zones worldwide, and is of great interest for three main reasons. Firstly, Ulva is an important feedstock for biofuels. Secondly, many Ulva species are massively proliferating organisms that cause Harmful Algal Blooms, which are ecologically devastating. Finally, Ulva is an important model organism that could elucidate the evolution of multicellularity. This thesis investigates the physiology of growth in Ulva in four sequential results chapters. The first establishes a statistical proof for the goodness of fit of gene family occupancy data to a discrete power law model. This was an assumption used in the only Ulva genome study, which found no genomic signature for multicellularity. This establishes the baseline for the in- vestigation of bottom-up morphogenesis in Ulva. The second is the investigation of differential growth, by identifying cell tessellation patterns in different morphologies of Ulva thalli, namely the “ribbon” and “leaf” morphotypes, with mathematical mod- els using Voronoi tessellations. The third expands investigates differential growth in the ribbon and leaf morphotypes with a focus on identifying potential mechanisms with further mathematical models using Centroidal Voronoi Tessellations. The fourth aims to develop experimental techniques to confirm the hypotheses arising from the mathematical modelling in the second and third chapters. The first part involves the use of EdU cellular proliferation assays. The remainder of the chapter will investigate the development of a live-imaging biomass monitoring system that aims to improve the accuracy, reliability and temporal resolution of aquatic biomass measurements. It can be concluded that Ulva does not show a genomic signature for multicellularity, and bottom-up mechanisms likely explain its morphogenesis and morphologies.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Biological and Biomedical Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Mar 2020 15:00

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