Thermo-acidophilic Algae: pH and Metal Tolerances
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The class Cyanidiophyceae (the "cyanidia") includes three genera, the walled Cyanidium and Galdieria and the "naked" Cyandioschyzon. All of these algae are unicellular and asexual and live at high temperature and low pH. The cyanidia grow optimally at a pH of 2-3 but can tolerate a higher pH and lower their surrounding pH if it is above the optimal level. They can also tolerate high concentrations of potential toxins that are often found in their natural environments. This thesis shows that strains of cyanidia from Yellowstone National Park and other geographic locations have differing abilities to lower their surrounding pH and tolerate environmental toxins that are found in many environments in which they live. These unique characteristics of this class of algae allow them to be optimally adapted for life in extreme environments with few competitors. This thesis includes unpublished co-authored material.