Are you Abby D Laatsch?

Claim your profile

Publications (4)5.56 Total impact

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: As part of a Microbial Observatory of Caterpillars located in the Area de Conservacíon Guanacaste (ACG) in northwestern Costa Rica, we isolated a novel species of the genus Vannella associated with the food of the caterpillars of the saturniid moth Rothschildia lebeau, namely the leaves of the dry forest deciduous tree Spondias mombin (Anacardiaceae). The new species can be distinguished from other described species of the genus by the presence of a plasmalemma coated with a thickened, osmiophilic lamina containing glycostyles, and by its unusual habitat, the leaf surfaces or phylosphere of S. mombin. We further established the novelty of our isolate by sequencing its nuclear small-subunit (SSU) rRNA gene and inferring its phylogenetic position among all other currently sequenced members of the genera Vannella and Platyamoeba. Our results reveal that our isolate shares most recent common ancestry with three strains of Platyamoeba placida, the type species of the genus Platyamoeba. Despite this placement, the isolate clearly possesses glycostyles that are the hallmark of the genus Vannella. In addition to the cultured isolate, we also present a closely related sequence from a SSU rRNA gene clone library constructed from a DNA extract of leaf-wash of S. mombin with sterile water.
    Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 01/2006; 53(6):522-30. · 2.16 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2006. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research 111 (2006): G03013, doi:10.1029/2005JG000121. The 18S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequences of haptophyte algae were successfully amplified using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from water filtrate, surface sediments, and a late-Holocene sediment sample (∼1000 years old) from a group of lakes in the Søndre Strømfjord region of west Greenland. The DNA of the algal primary producer is extremely well preserved in the laminated lake sediments which have been deposited in cold (1°–2°C), anoxic, and sulphidic bottom water. Phylogenetic analyses of the Greenland haptophyte rDNA sequences suggest that alkenones in the Greenland lake sediments are produced by haptophyte algae of the class Prymnesiophyceae. The 18S rDNA sequences from the Greenland samples cluster within a distinct phylotype, differing from both marine haptophytes and from those reported previously from Ace Lake, Antarctica. The similarity of haptophyte rDNA sequences among all samples in this study suggests a single alkenone-based temperature calibration may be applied to these lakes for at least the past 1000 years. These sedimentary archives hold great promise for high-resolution, alkenone-based paleotemperature reconstruction of southern west Greenland, a region sensitive to atmospheric-oceanic climate phenomena such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). This work was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF0081478, 0318050, 0318123, 0402383, 0520718), NASA (NAG5-10665, NNG04GJ34G) and the American Chemical Society, Petroleum Research Fund (ACS-PRF38878-AC2) to Y. Huang.
    01/2006;
  • Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 03/2005; 52(2):107-15. · 2.16 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Spain's Rio Tinto, or Red River, an example of an extremely acidic (pH 1.7-2.5) environment with a high metal content, teems with prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbial life. Our recent studies based on small-subunit rRNA genes reveal an unexpectedly high eukaryotic phylogenetic diversity in the river when compared to the relatively low prokaryotic diversity. Protists can therefore thrive in and dominate extremely acidic, heavy-metal-laden environments. Further, because we have discovered protistan acidophiles closely related to neutrophiles, we can hypothesize that the transition from neutral to acidic environments occurs rapidly over geological time scales. How have these organisms adapted to such environments? We are currently exploring the alterations in physiological mechanisms that might allow for growth of eukaryotic microbes at acid extremes. To this end, we are isolating phylogenetically diverse protists in order to characterize and compare ion-transporting ATPases from cultured acidophiles with those from neutrophilic counterparts. We predict that special properties of these ion transporters allow protists to survive in the Rio Tinto.
    Biological Bulletin 05/2003; 204(2):205-9. · 1.23 Impact Factor