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Protist. 2010 Jul;161(3):385-99. doi: 10.1016/j.protis.2010.01.002. Epub 2010 Feb 11.

Pelagodinium gen. nov. and P. béii comb. nov., a dinoflagellate symbiont of planktonic foraminifera.

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CNRS, UMR 7144 & Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Station Biologique de Roscoff, Equipe EPPO-Evolution du Plancton et PaléoOcéans, Place Georges Teissier, 29682 Roscoff, France.


The taxonomic status of the free-living stage of the dinoflagellate Gymnodinium béii, symbiont of the foraminifer Orbulina universa, was reassessed on the basis of detailed morpho-genetic analyses. Electron microscopy observations revealed previously undescribed morphological features of the cell that are important for species recognition. The presence of a single elongated apical vesicle (EAV) ornamented with a row of small knobs, absent in species of the genus Gymnodinium, calls into question the current taxonomic position of the symbiont. The presence of a type E extraplastidial eyespot, the arrangement of the amphiesmal vesicles in series and the absence of trichocysts confirm the affiliation with other symbiotic dinoflagellates and certain genetically related non-symbiotic genera, all belonging to the order Suessiales. The arrangement of the series of vesicles of the analyzed strain is unique within the Suessiales, and the ultrastructure of the pyrenoid is different from other symbiotic dinoflagellates. A large subunit (LSU) rDNA phylogenetic analysis confirmed that the analyzed pelagic symbiont clusters in an independent, well-supported clade within the Suessiales with other sequences of symbiotic dinoflagellates extracted from planktonic foraminifera. Hence a novel genus, Pelagodinium gen. nov., is erected for this pelagic, symbiotic dinoflagellate, and Gymnodinium béii is reclassified as Pelagodinium béii.

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