Mohammad ‘Monir’ Moniruzzaman
The Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography recognizes a young scientist each year for leading an outstanding peer-reviewed, English-language paper in the aquatic sciences with the Raymond L. Lindeman Award. The 2022 Lindeman Award will be given to Dr. Mohammad ‘Monir’ Moniruzzaman in recognition of his 2020 Nature paper, “Widespread endogenization of giant viruses shapes genomes of green algae,” describing the integration of viral elements from giant DNA viruses into the genomes of green algae, providing evidence of their importance in protistan evolution, and response to environmental change. The award will be presented to Dr. Moniruzzaman, currently an Assistant Professor at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, during the 2022 Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting in Grand Rapids, MI, USA.
Moniruzzaman et al. significantly changed the field’s understanding of how green algae evolve by demonstrating the incorporation of viral DNA, contributing a large amount of genes to these protistan genomes. The viral DNA uncovered in these algae – known as endogenous viral elements – are from exceptionally large viruses called Nucleocytoplasmic Large DNA Viruses or “NCLDVs”. This discovery represents a large shift in the previously held idea that the slow accumulation of single nucleotide polymorphisms over time represented the main mechanism of evolution in these organisms. NCLDVs often have large genomes that contain genes from multiple sources. Therefore, the discovery by Moniruzzaman et al. of their widespread endogenization into green algal genomes constitutes a major mechanism of evolution previously unappreciated in these organisms. With 30 citations since its publication less than two years ago, Moniruzzaman et al. has opened new and exciting avenues of research in aquatic microbiology.
ASLO President Roxane Maranger says, “How phytoplankton communities evolve and adapt in the face of environmental change is a fundamental question in oceanography and limnology. The discovery in Dr. Moniruzzaman’s 2020 paper of the role of giant viruses provides monumental advances in the field’s approach to answering this question. We look forward to continued work by this impressive early-career researcher.”
Full Citation: Moniruzzaman, M., Weinheimer, A.R., Martinez-Gutierrez, C.A., Aylward, F.O., 2020. Widespread endogenization of giant viruses shapes genomes of green algae. Nature 588, pp. 141–145. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2924-2