A new genus of red algae was recently described by a researcher from Korea, So Young Jeong and her coauthors from Chosun University, Gwangju, Korea, and the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, in the journal Phycologia.

They named the alga Wynneophycus in honor of Michael J. Wynne, professor emeritus and curator emeritus of algae in the University of Michigan Herbarium “for his valuable contributions to phycology, especially in the taxonomy of the family Delesseriaceae.” The suffix is the Greek word phykos for “seaweed.”

Wynne remarked that he felt honored, especially because the new genus is in the family of red algae (with about 100 genera) that he has devoted much attention to. His efforts culminated in the publication of a book “The red algal familiies Delesseriaceae and Sarcomeniaceae” that was published in 2014 by Koeltz Scientific Books.

The sole species of the new genus, Wynneophycus geminatus, was in a different genus (Hypoglossum), but a combination of molecular analysis and morphological study revealed that it had nothing to do with that genus but deserved to be treated in a distinct (and new) genus, in fact, in a newly recognized tribe. The species name geminatus (Latin: paired, doubled) refers to the feature of the branches always being formed in pairs. The species occurs in Japan, China, Korea, Fiji and Norfolk Island. The authors of the new genus are from Korea and the United States. 

An earlier genus of red algae, Nwynea, was named by Searles in 1989 in Wynne’s honor. It was collected in deep water off the coast of Georgia (USA). According to Wynne, he had to warn his colleague Rick Searles at Duke University: “You cannot use Wynnea because that name was already used more than a century ago for a genus of fungi.” So Searles created an anagram of the name.

Over his career Wynne has described 14 new genera of Delesseriaceae and about two to three times that number of new species from around the world. Another long-term research project has been his publication of checklists of the benthic marine algae of the tropical and subtropical Western Atlantic, starting with his original list in 1986, followed by three revisions (1998, 2005, 2011).

The names of species of algae that bear Wynne’s name (from the Mediterranean, the North Pacific; Japan and Korea; Hawaii; and Puerto Rico):

Beringia wynnei B.E. Clarkston and G.W. Saunders

Botryocladia wynnei Ballantine

Chylocladia wynnei G. Alongi, M. Cormaci and G. Furnari

Colpomenia wynnei K.M. Lee, R. Riosmena-Rodriguez, K. Kogame and S.M. Boo

Hypoglossum wynnei I.A. Abbott

Additionally, Wynne has described about 25 new genera of seaweeds over his career (mostly of red algae) and about twice that number for new species.

A recent retrospective article “An Experiment in Graduate Education: A Marine Science Adventure Across the Indian Ocean” was published in the March 2016 issue of Oceanography on graduate education in the ocean sciences. Wynne contributed to this article about a three-month long expedition that took place over 50 years ago. He was part of a group of a dozen graduate students who sailed on the R/V Te Vega, a research vessel of Stanford University, across the Indian Ocean from Mombasa, Kenya, to Singapore.

U-M Library subscribes to this journal. The reference is: Pearse, V.B., J.C. Ogden, and S.J. Proctor. 2016. An experiment in graduate education: A marine science adventure across the Indian Ocean. Oceanography 29(1):90–97.