Turkish scientists discover new species of red algae

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Two Turkish scientists have discovered a new species of red algae in Lake Bafa in Milas district, southwestern Turkey, Muğla, through their ongoing research since 2018 on what they suspected at deservedly to be a kind of new algae in the region.

The Turkish scientists’ research overlapped with a foreign academic’s studies of the same species she discovered in the Canary Islands.

Inci Tüney Kızılkaya, a professor at Ege University, from the hydrobiology branch of the Department of Biology of the Faculty of Science, believed that the alga was a different species following the molecular determinations she made. Thus, Kızılkaya continued his studies with Professor Ergün Taşkın, a faculty member of the Department of Biology at Manisa Celal Bayar University.

Kızılkaya and Taşkın then shared the results of their study with their Spanish colleague, Pilar Diaz-Tapia. In the meantime, it turned out that the Spanish scientist had discovered the same species in the Canary Islands and was preparing for publication.

A new species of red algae, Izmir, Turkey, June 2, 2022. (AA Photo)

Receiving the data from Lake Bafa, Diaz-Tapia collaborated with Turkish scientists on the new discovery of red algae. The scientific article prepared in this context has been published in the international peer-reviewed journal Phycologia.

Diaz-Tapia prioritized the name her Turkish colleagues had given to the red algae since they had discovered it before her.

Thereupon, the seaweed species was named “Polysiphonia sukatarii”, after Professor Atakan Sukatar, who retired from the Hydrobiology Branch of Ege University in 2020.

Kızılkaya told Anadolu Agency (AA) that she has been working on algae for years, and in this sense, she carried out projects with her mentor Sukatar during her graduate and doctoral studies.

Kızılkaya said she believed the algae she encountered during the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK) project they conducted in Lake Bafa in 2018 was a different species.

A microscopic image of a new species of red algae, Izmir, Turkey, June 2, 2022. (AA Photo)

A microscopic image of a new species of red algae, Izmir, Turkey, June 2, 2022. (AA Photo)

She said they realized that this algae had not previously been recorded in genetic and morphological analyses.

“To confirm this, we contacted our colleague in Spain, Dr Pilar Diaz-Tapia. She explained that she had found the same species in the Canary Islands while working, and was about to release it. ‘bring it to publication. Then we combined the studies and thought we should do a joint publication,” she said.

“However, because we contacted her and had started the research earlier, she gave us naming priority. We therefore named the species ‘Polysiphonia sukatarii’ in honor of our retired professor. .”

Pointing out that Bafa, where the seaweed species was found, is the largest lake in Western Anatolia and rich in terms of biological diversity, Kızılkaya added that the protection status in the region should definitely be increased.

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