Faculty & Staff

Alison R. Taylor, Professor

photoPh.D., Oxford Brookes University, U.K., 1991
BSc., Leicester University, U.K., 1985
Dobo Hall 113 | (910) 962-2176 | 601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC  28403-5915

Cell Biology of Marine Protists

Despite playing a pivotal role in our oceans, relatively little is known about the cell biology of marine protists, a large and diverse group of unicellular organisms which includes both autotrophic and heterotrophic groups. Research in my lab has focussed on the cell biology of diatoms and coccolithophores, two of the most significant groups of phytoplankton with respect to ocean primary productivity and marine biogeochemical cycles. This work has revealed that these organisms, regarded until recently to be essentially plant-like algae, possess a variety of animal-like membrane transport properties. This is supported by the recent availability of genome sequence data which confirms the presence of groups of animal-like genes including those for metabolism, ion channels and transporters. These genes have most likely been acquired from the heterotrophic ancestral host during the secondary endosymbiotic evolutionary origin of the heterokont lineage.   To what degree such animal-like properties underpin the environmental physiology and contribute to the global success of these marine autotrophic protists is a driving question in our research.  While a comparative approach among a range of phytoplankton and other heterotrophic marine protists is the longer-term goal of our research, work is currently centred on identifying and functionally characterising ion transport mechanisms associated with signalling and homeostasis in diatoms, coccolithophores and foraminifera.  To address these questions we use a variety of conventional and novel cell physiology techniques including electrophysiology and high resolution imaging combined with molecular approaches. Current research includes the following topics:

Selected publications (*graduate students)

*Drescher B., Dillaman R.M., & Taylor A.R. (2012) Calcification in the coccolithophore Schyphosphera apstenii (Lohman). Journal of Phycology48: 1343-1361 [Journal Cover]

Taylor, A.R. Brownlee C., Wheeler G.L. (2012) Proton channels in algae: Reasons to be excited. Trends in Plant Sciences 17: 1360-1385

*McLachlan, D., Taylor, A., Geider, R., Underwood, G., Brownlee, C. (2012) Calcium release from intracellular stores is necessary for the photophobic response in the benthic diatom Navicula perminuta (Bacillariophyceae). Journal of Phycology 48: 675-681.

Bloom, A.J., Randall, L., Taylor, A.R. & Silk W.K. (2012) Deposition and of ammonium and nitrate in the roots of maize seedlings supplied with different nitrogen salts. Journal of Experimental Botany63: 1997-2006

Taylor, A.R, Chrachri, A., Wheeler, G., Goddard, H., Brownlee, C. (2011) A voltage-gated H+ channel underlying pH homeostasis in calcifying coccolithophores. PLoS Biol 9(6): e1001085. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001085.

*Echevarria M.L. and Taylor A.R. (2011) Marine algal neurotoxins: Pandora’s box or Panacea? Invited article for The Biochemist 33 (3): 14-18.

Cock J.M., Coelho S., Brownlee C., Taylor A.R. (2010) Commentary: The Ectocarpus genome sequence: insights into brown algal biology and the evolutionary diversity of the eukaryotes New Phytologist: 188: 1-4.

Verret, F., Wheeler, G., Taylor, A., Farnham, G., Brownlee, C. (2010) Calcium channels in photosynthetic eukaryotes: Implications for evolution of calcium-based signaling. New Phytologist 187: 23-43

*Milne, A., Davey, M.S., Worsfold, P.J., Achterberg, E.P. & Taylor, A.R. (2009).  Real-time detection of reactive oxygen species generation by marine phytoplankton using flow injection–chemiluminescence. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods 7: 706–715

Taylor, AR. (2009) A fast Na+/Ca2+- based action potential in a marine diatom. PLoS ONE 4(3): e4966. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004966

*McLachlan D, Brownlee C, Taylor A.R., Geider R. and Underwood G. (2009) Motile responses of two species of estuarine benthic diatoms Navicula perminuta and Cylindrotheca closterium (Baccillariophyceae), to light quantity and quality. Journal of Phycology 45: 592-599

Bowler C, Allen AE, Badger JH, Grimwood, […], Taylor A.R., […], Armbrust EV, Green BR, Van de Peer Y, Grigoriev IV (2008) The Phaeodactylum genome reveals the evolutionary history of diatom genomes. Nature 456: 239-244, doi:10.1038/nature07410

*Thompson, S.E.M., Taylor, A.R., Brownlee, C., Callow, M.E., Callow, J.A. (2008) The role of nitric oxide in diatom adhesion in relation to substratum properties. Journal of Phycology 44: 967-976

Taylor, AR. *Russell MA, *Harper G, Collins T, Brownlee C (2007). Dynamics of the formation and secretion of hetercoccoliths by Coccolithus pelagicus (ssp Braarudii). European Journal of Phycology 42:125-136

*Thompson, S.E.M., Callow, J.A., Callow, M.E., Wheeler, G.L., Taylor, A.R., Brownlee, C (2007). Membrane recycling and calcium dynamics during settlement and adhesion of zoospores of the green alga Ulva linza.  Plant Cell and Environment 30: 733-744

Bloom AJ,  Frensch J & Taylor AR (2006) Influence of inorganic nitrogen and pH on the elongation of maize seminal roots. Annals of Botany 97: 867-873

Wheeler G.L., Tait K., Taylor AR, Brownlee C., Joint I. (2006) Acyl-homoserine lactones modulate the settlement rate of zoospores of the marine alga, Ulva intestinalis, via a novel chemokinetic mechanism. Plant Cell and Environment 29: 608-618

Brownlee, C. & Taylor, A.R., (2004). Calcification in coccolithophores: A cellular perspective. In Coccolithophores-from molecular processes to global impact (ed. H.R. Thierstein and J.R. Young), Springer, Germany, pp. 31–49.

Davey, M., Suggett, D., Geider, R.C. & Taylor, A.R., (2003). Plasma membrane redox activity: effect of iron limitation and interaction with photosynthesis. Journal of Phycology, 39, 1132–1144.

Taylor, A.R. & Brownlee, C., (2003). A novel inwardly rectifying chloride current regulates membrane potential in the marine phytoplankton Coccolithus pelagicus. Plant Physiology, 131, 1391–1400.

Bloom, A.J., Meyerhoff, P.A., Taylor, A.R. & Rost, T.L., (2003). Root development and absorption of ammonium and nitrate from the rhizosphere. Journal of Plant Growth Regulation, 21, 416–431.

*Coelho, S., Taylor, A.R., Sousa-Pinto, T., Ryan, K., Brown, M.T. & Brownlee, C., (2002). Spatio-temporal patterning of reactive oxygen production and calcium wave propagation in Fucus rhizoid cells. Plant Cell, 14, 2369–2381.

Brownlee, C. & Taylor, A.R., (2002) Algal Calcification and Silification in Encyclopedia of Life Sciences, http://www.els.net. London: Nature Publishing Group.

*Berry, L., Taylor, A.R., Lucken, U., Ryan, K.P. & Brownlee, C., (2002). Calcification and inorganic carbon acquisition in coccolithophores. Functional Plant Biology, 29, 289–299.

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