Home • Gorgonomyces haynaldii MP57 v1.0
Gorgonomyces haynaldii MP57. Photo by Martha J. Powell.
Gorgonomyces haynaldii MP57. Photo by Martha J. Powell.

Gorgonomyces haynaldii MP57 was isolated from a pond water sample taken from the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge in Madison County, Alabama on August 9, 2009. This species was first described in 1883 as a species of Phlyctidium and was later reclassified in 1892 as a species of Rhizophydium. Extensive molecular and ultrastructural analyses have proven the diversity hidden in the genus Rhizophydium, and in 2006, the genus became the type of the new order, Rhizophydiales, which now contains over a dozen families. In 2008, R. haynaldii was once again reclassified as Gorgonomyces haynaldii because of its phylogenetic placement away from the genus type and its unique constellation of zoospore ultrastructural characters. This species grows on pollen and moribund algae in baited soil or water samples, but its appearance varies based on the substrate. On nutrient agar, the developing germling of this species forms a cylindrical or knob-like subsporangial swelling. At maturity, numerous elongated discharge tubes emanate from all over the zoosporangium, reminiscent of the snake-haired Greek mythological characters of Medusa and her Gorgon sisters, which give this genus its name. Gorgonomyces haynaldii MP57 is a visually stunning chytrid fungus and genomic analyses of this species will help us understand the role of chytrids in biodegradation and how genetic regulation contributes to thallus morphological plasticity.