Tiny tots

Published: Monday 15 January 1996

Scientists from the Laboratory of Marine Hydrology, Montpellier University in France have discovered the smallest algal species in the Than Lake, near the Mediterranean Sea (Technical News, No 11, November 1995). This single-celled eukaryote measures less than a micrometre (10-6 M) in diameter. Its unique structure, characteristic mode of division and pigment composition indicate that it is a new algal species, called Ostreococcus tauri. In Than, it forms 85 per cent of the total phytoplankton population and 30 per cent of the chlorophyllic biomass.

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