Last summer, I hosted Drs. Hisayoshi Nozaki, Noriko Ueki, Osami Misumi, and two graduate students from the University of Tokyo, Kayoko Yamamoto and Shota Yamashita, to collect volvocine algae from Montana lakes. To our surprise, we found a species of Volvox (V. capensis) that had previously only ever been found in South Africa! Dr. Nozaki’s team identified the algae collected in Ninepipe Reservoir based on their morphology and DNA sequencing. South Africa and Montana: this is about as disjunct as a distribution can be. Is Volvox capensis a master of long-distance dispersal? Is its distribution actually cosmopolitan, and if so, why hasn’t it ever been found anywhere else?
This discovery will be published as a research note in an upcoming issue of Phycologia (Nozaki, H., N. Ueki, O. Misumi, K. Yamamoto, S. Yamashita, M. D. Herron and F. Rosenzweig. 2015. Morphology and reproduction of Volvox capensis (Volvocales, Chlorophyceae) from Montana, USA. Phycologia 24:316-320).