Belgian biologist discovers a new type of algae


The Belgian biologist Bart Van de Vijver has discovered a new type of algae on the Kerguelen Islands. The minuscule algae belongs to the diatom family and has been named ‘Cyclotella deceusteriana’, after a major sponsor of the Botanic Garden in Meise.

Kerguelen is an inhospitable and volcanic area in the Indian Ocean and is part of the French Southern and Antarctic Territories. It was there that Bart Van de Vijver from the Botanic Garden in Meise found the unknown algae in a small lake. The Cyclotella deceusteriana is named after Tom De Ceuster, a fertiliser entrepreneur and a major sponsor of the botanic garden, and is no bigger than a hundredth of a millimetre. It belongs to the family of diatoms or phytoplankton, one of the most common algae on the planet. Diatoms are important because they convert CO2 to oxygen.