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The meaning of «oedogonium»

Oedogonium is a genus of filamentous, free-living green algae, first discovered in the fresh waters of Poland 1860 by W. Hilse and later named by German scientist K. E. Hirn. The morphology of Oedogonium is unique, with an interior and exterior that function very differently from one another and change throughout its life cycle. These protists reside in freshwater ecosystems in both hemispheres and are both benthic and planktonic in nature.[3][4][5][6][7] Forming algal patches on water's surface, they interact closely with a multitude of other algae.[8] These filamentous cell's life cycles include both sexual and asexual reproduction, depending on life cycle stage. Although quite common, Oedogonium is difficult to identify, since key ID factors are only present during reproduction, which is an uncommon life stage among this genus.[9] Oedogonium has been found to be important in the fixation of heavy metals in freshwater ecosystems.[10][11]

Although K.E. Hirn was the first to publish concerning Odeogoniales, it is not clear as to whether he was the first to discover this new genus. First named Oedogoniaceen (German), Hirn used his knowledge of the Latin language to describe and name the green algal genus; oedos meaning swelling/tumor, and gonos meaning offspring/seed. This name was meant to describe the morphology during sexual and asexual reproduction which he saw and described within his publication, “Monographie und iconographie der Oedogoniaceen”.[12]

Oedogonium species were first reported in the late 19th century by Hilse (1860),[13] Gołowin (1964),[14] Kirchner (1878),[15] Kozłowski (1895)[16] and Gutwiński (1897).[17] Hilse was a Polish phycologist who studied freshwater systems in hopes of learning more about microorganisms and how they interacted with their environment. Along with Oedogonium, Hilse is also credited with the discovery and classification of many diatoms. Mrozińska[3][4][5] was the first to exam this group in terms of morphology, ecology and distribution and in his time described more than 400 species – mainly from southern Poland.

In 1900, German scientist K.E. Hirn wrote a monograph concerning his finding of a new taxon, to which he promptly gave the name Oedogoniaceen – now Oedogonium. This paper was published and translated 60 years later. Hirn discovered Oedogonium in a ditch, appearing from June – October, but not much else is known as this was his only published contribution and he died in 1907 (7 years following his discovery).[18] Since this 1900 monograph, this taxon has been vital in ongoing studies regarding biosorption of heavy metals – particularly lead – from fresh water ecosystems.[10][11] Identification of species within Oedogonium is extremely difficult since I.D. factors are mainly based on reproductive characters, and very rarely are species in this genus discovered in their reproductive state. For the most part they exist in a filamentous form.

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