Karolina Fučíková

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Taking a hike near Phoenix, AZ

Postdoctoral associate, The Green algal tree of life project (GrAToL)
University of Connecticut
Office: BioPharm 311A
Phone: (860) 486-1811
E-mail: karolina.fucikova@uconn.edu
Advisors: Louise Lewis, Paul Lewis

Tumidella tumida, a new lineage (genus and family in the class Chlorophyceae) from the Namib Desert

I study the diversity and evolution of green algae with the use of molecular phylogenetic methods, light microscopy, and electron microscopy. I am particularly interested in unicellular algae that inhabit soils, from dry hot deserts to polar and alpine habitats to heavily polluted post-mining dumps.

  • You can watch a short video introduction to green algae that live in soils here

As part of the Green Algal Tree of Life project (GrAToL) , the L._Lewis_Lab currently uses next-generation sequencing methods to investigate the diversity of algal chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes and the utility of organellar genes and architectures for higher taxonomy of green algae. I am also interested in the alterations of the genetic code in the mitochondria of the class Chlorophyceae, and the spread and inheritance of introns in green algal organellar genomes.

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Two mitochondrial genomes representing the order Sphaeropleales. Both contain the same respiratory and rRNA genes, but the one on the left is laden with introns, while the other is intron-free and extremely compact.
Synteny maps of mitochondrial genomes of Sphaeropleales with same-colored blocks indicating corresponding pieces: In one family, several rearrangements occurred between two representative genera, but in another family the genomes appear completely collinear (no rearrangements).

Previous Education

Ph.D.: 2011, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, PEET trainee
Dissertation: Monograph of the Genus Bracteacoccus (Sphaeropleales, Chlorophyceae), with Systematic Clarification of Taxonomically Related Genera
Advisor: Louise Lewis

MS: 2006, John Carroll University, University Heights, OH
Participation in the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory in the Great Smoky Mountains (ATBI)
Master's thesis: Algae and Cyanobacteria of Selected Subaerial Habitats in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, U.S.A., and Desmid Flora of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Advisor: Jeff Johansen

Bc: 2004, Jihočeská Univerzita, České Budějovice, Czech Republic
Bachelor's thesis: Microvegetation of the top of Roraima Tepui, with emphasis on the order Desmidiales.
Advisor: Jan "Hanys" Kaštovský

Spanish Atlantic coast, July 2006

Research Interests

  • Evolution of mitochondrial genomes
  • Evolution of chloroplast genomes
  • Diversity and spread of introns and intronic homing endonuclease genes
  • Systematics and diversity of green algae
  • Subaerophytic and terrestrial algae
  • Algae from extreme environments
Bracteacoccus sp.: scanning electron micrograph of a sporangium prior to spore release


  • Fučíková, K., Johansen, J. R. & Hall, J. D. Submitted. Contribution to the desmid flora of Southeastern Maine. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society.
  • Funk, E. C., Velotta, J. P., Fučíková, K., McCormick, S. D. & Schultz, E. T. Submitted. Differential expression of intestinal aquaporin 1 in landlocked and anadromous forms of Alewife. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology.
  • Urban, M., L.A. Lewis, K. Fučíková & A. Cordone. Accepted. Population of origin and environment interact to determine oomycete infections in spotted salamander populations. Oikos.
  • Fučíková, K., P.O. Lewis & L.A. Lewis. In press. Widespread desert affiliations of trebouxiophycean algae (Trebouxiophyceae, Chlorophyta) including discovery of three new desert genera. Phycological Research.

Teaching Experience


  • Fall 2013 – Modern Topics in Biology (BIOL 1109), Univ. of Connecticut.

Teaching Assistant

  • Fall 2008, Fall 2010 – Biology of the Algae (EEB 3250/5250), Univ. of Connecticut.
  • Fall 2007 – Principles of Biology (BIOL 1108), Univ. of Connecticut.
  • Fall 2005 – Limnology (BL 424), John Carroll Univ.

Mentoring Experience

  • Spring 2013 – undergraduate Wilda Merant, Univ. of Connecticut (awarded $450 from UConn Office of Undergraduate Research).
  • Summer 2012 – Spring 2014 – undergraduate Alexis Cordone, Univ. of Connecticut (honors thesis "Species Identification of Oomycete Infections in New England Salamander Eggs"; 1 coauthored publication).
  • Fall 2009 – undergraduate Carissa Kerpen, Univ. of Connecticut.
  • Fall 2008 – Spring 2010 – undergraduate Jared Rada, Univ. of Connecticut (awarded $415 from UConn Office of Undergraduate Research; 2 coauthored publications).
  • Summer 2007 – REU program, Univ. of Connecticut – undergraduate Chien Lo (1 coauthored publication).
  • Summer 2007 – Summer Research Program for Minority Students. Univ. of Connecticut – undergraduate Miracle Tali
At Lake Champlain, Burlington, VT

Service, Leadership & Outreach

2008 - 2010: COO of Green Grads
2008, 2009, 2010 - co-organizer of UConn's Give&Go program
2009 - COO of the EEB Graduate Student Association
2010 - 2011: CFO of the EEB Graduate Student Association
2010 - 2011: senator in the UConn Graduate Student Senate; member of the GSS Finance Committee
2009 - 2011: grad student representative for UConn's Environmental Policy Advisory Council (EPAC)
2007, 2009 - Connecticut Bioblitz participant
2013 - White Memorial Bioblitz participant
2012, 2014 - Berkshire Bioblitz participant
Reviewer for Nova Hedwigia, Chinese Journal of Oceanography and Limnology, Journal of Phycology, American Journal of Botany, Journal of Systematics and Evolution, Acta Societatis Botanicorum Poloniae, and Fottea.
Adirondack Marathon pace group leader (4:45 in 2013, expected 4:00 in 2014):