Species boundaries in the toxic dinoflagellate prorocentrum lima (Dinophyceae, Prorocentrales), based on morphological and phylogenetic characters

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Journal Article
Journal of Phycology, 2011, 47 (1), pp. 178 - 189
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Wild and cultured specimens of Prorocentrum lima (Ehrenb.) F. Stein from 26 widely different areas in 13 countries were examined in order to determine consistent characters for delimiting species boundaries in this taxon. The morphological characters valve shape, valve size, valve ornamentation, number and shape of valve pores, number and shape of marginal pores, and periflagellar platelets were observed using LM and SEM, and two molecular genetic regions were sequenced. We identified stable morphological characters that were consistent among wild specimens and all cultures, which were valve shape, valve ornamentation, and number and arrangement of periflagellar platelets. All cultures of P. lima identified by these characters formed a monophyletic group in phylogenetic analyses based on the two genes, which, however, included the species Prorocentrum arenarium. P. arenarium was determined to be within the range of morphological variation of P. lima, and therefore we synonymize the two taxa. Within this monophyletic group, P. lima was divided into several subclades in the all phylogenetic analyses. There were no morphological characters specifically related to any one subclade. The subclades appeared to correlate broadly to sample collection regions, suggesting that geographically separated populations may have become genetically distinct within this epi-benthic species. We have emended species boundaries in P. lima. © 2011 Phycological Society of America.
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