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Re-investigation and lectotypification of O. Müller’s diatoms from East Africa: taxa from the genera Rhopalodia, Nitzschia, Sellaphora, Placoneis

Müller (1903, 1904, 1910) described many new diatom taxa from East Africa based on material collected at the beginning of the 20th century. Original slides were lost during World War II but historic material was rediscovered at the Botanic Garden of Berlin, Dahlem. This makes it possible to designate lectotypes. During a previous SYNTHESYS project (2005) the investigation including lectotypification was undertaken for 32 taxa belonging to the genera Surirella and Cymatopleura, resulting in 7 publications. The study of Rhopalodia was started but not finished. The present project aims to continue this study of the types of East African diatoms. We will focus on the continuation of Rhopalodia taxa and start with taxa belonging to the genera Nitzschia, Sellaphora and Placoneis, the last two were treated by Müller as Navicula s.l. Considering the renewed interest in diatoms from East and Central Africa as well as water quality studies based on diatoms, it is important to understand and typify the diatoms described from this region, and to make them accessible to the scientific community. The present proposal concerns 42 taxa, distributed over the four mentioned genera (Rhopalodia: 17; Nitzschia: 13; Sellaphora + Placoneis: 12). Investigation will be done on newly made light microscopic slides in order to designate a lectotype for each studied taxon. The study will focus on species variability and a large part of our time will go into the investigations of the morphological ultrastructure of the diatom valves using scanning electron microscopy. As done for Surirella and Cymatopleura, the results will be discussed in several papers and send for publication in peer-reviewed international journals.
Date:9 Nov 2015 →  20 Nov 2015