141/150: Oh, Oh, Oh, Sweet Serviceberry of Mine!

Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Rosales: Rosaceae: Amelanchier: Amelanchier alnifolia (Thomas Nuttall)

The Amelanchier alnifolia or commonly known as the Saskatoon serviceberry is found widely across the Americas. Its name is derived from the Cree word “misaskwatomina” meaning “fruit of the tree with many branches”. This hardy plant requires little attention with plenty of sunlight and mulch, similar to your old pet rock that you forgot about. In autumn, the colours of the leaves turn a radiant reddish-purple and yellowish-gold. Additionally, the Saskatoon serviceberry is a food of the past! Travelers and early settlers ate its berries as a sweet alternative to their everyday meals. Humans are not the only ones to value its gifts, some pest species such as aphids and thrips feed on the serviceberry as well. This species is represented with 18 records on BOLD. #Biodiversity150 #Canada150

Specimen ERM457 – Vancouver Island, British Columbia – 6-Jun-2011. Photo Credit: UBC Herbarium
The flower of Saskatoon serviceberry. Photo Credit: Hansen’s Northwest Native Plant Database goo.gl/b3V9Gw

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID: BBYUK1576-12

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Saskatoon serviceberry

132/150: What’s green, marine and a potential killing machine? Sea Lettuce!

Plantae: Chlorophyta: Ulvophyceae: Ulvales: Ulvaceae: Ulva: Ulva lactuca Linnaeus 1753

Although it resembles terrestrial salad greens, Ulva lactuca (sea lettuce) is a species of aquatic green algae. The bright green ruffled edge “leaves” are composed of 2 layers of cells, found free floating or attached to surfaces in areas with exposed rocks and tide pools. Ulva lactuca is edible, and can be added to salads or soups, or used in medicine. However, this nutritious chlorophyte has a dark side. When large concentrations of sea lettuce die, the rotting algae uses up large amounts of oxygen, potentially suffocating other aquatic species (eutrophication). When large quantities of the rotting algae washes up on shore, it produces toxic hydrogen sulfide gas, which can be a public safety risk. Although it can be tolerated in low doses, short term high exposure to fumes by unlucky beachgoers has led to documented cases of collapse, loss of breathing and even death! Watch out for killer lettuce! #Canada150 #Biodiversity150

The humble sea lettuce, a type of algae. Photo Credit: H. Krisp goo.gl/4sX6HV
Sea lettuce washed up on a beach. Photo Credit: Ecomare/Oscar Bos goo.gl/fr9UUZ
A SEA of Sea Lettuce! Photo Credit: Ria Tan goo.gl/TPWMwZ

Here’s the barcode sequence information for this species:

Process ID: ULVA558-09

nucleotide sequence


amino acid sequence


Visual representation of DNA barcode sequence for Sea lettuce