New observations on Saturnella saturnus (Steinecke) Fott: the first British record of a little-known enigmatic 'green' alga
Carter, Christopher F.; Beadle, Jeannie M.; John, David M.; Brown, Lee E.
Saturnella saturnus was discovered in March 2014 in open-water pools on blanket peatland at the Moor House – Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve, straddling Cumbria and County Durham in NE England. This is the first record for the British Isles of a little-known alga recorded previously only from a few peat bog areas, mainly in mainland Europe. The literature is reviewed and new observations presented on its morphology and reproduction based on LM examination of living cells. New observations on the chloroplast structure and cytoplasmic inclusions (especially oil droplets) are discussed in relation to the findings of earlier studies. Doubt attaches as whether it is a chlorophyte or a xanthophyte and the identity of small spherical inclusions been frequently interpreted as autospores. It occurs in Upper Teesdale in pools that are small, relatively newly formed and mostly well-oxygenated. Also discussed is its relationship to Trochiscia, another coloniser of peatland pools. Photographic images are presented for the first time and comments made on its ecology in the context of blanket bog conservation projects and apparent rarity.