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Flechtneria rotunda SEV3-VF49 in liquid culture [Image credit: phase microscopy by Elena L. Peredo]

Flechtneria rotunda SEV3-VF49

The green alga Flechtneria rotunda Sciuto & L. A. Lewis, 2015 is a desert-dwelling alga in the class Chlorophyceae, order Sphaeropleales (formerly referred as Scenedesmus rotundus H. C. Wood). Flechtneria rotunda is the only species in the genus. A permanent slide is deposited at the George Safford Torrey Herbarium, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, USA. (CONN00181061).

F. rotunda is found typically as single round cells. It reproduces asexually by multiple fission and typically releases 8-16 cells per cycle. Higher number of daughter cells (64) can be produced under very favorable conditions. Orange pigments accumulate with age.

F. rotunda is a terrestrial extremophile alga. This species is adapted to very arid environments such as those in the deserts of Western US. F. rotunda SEV3-VF49 is extremely desiccation tolerant. It can survive multiple cycles of desiccation and, upon rehydration, recovers photosynthetic activity immediately.

F. rotunda SEV3-VF49 was isolated by Prof. Louise Lewis (University of Connecticut) from desert soil surface in the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge (Sevilleta Long Term Ecological Research Progam) , New Mexico, USA. 34°12’43.5”N 106°45’28.5”W. (Collection date: October 1998, L. Lewis.). Live cultures were obtained from Prof. Lewis at the University of Connecticut.


Cardon, Z. G., Peredo, E. L., Dohnalkova, A. C., Gershone, H. L., & Bezanilla, M. (2018) A model suite of green algae within the Scenedesmaceae for investigating contrasting desiccation tolerance and morphology. ​J Cell Sci,​ ​131​(7), doi: 10.1242/jcs.212233.

Peredo, E.L. and Cardon, Z. G. (2020) Shared upregulation and contrasting downregulation of gene expression distinguish desiccation tolerant from intolerant green algae. PNAS, 117(29):17438-17445, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1906904117