Systematics, Biodiversity and Evolution of Plants

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Thursday July 15, 2021, 5pm GMT+2



The importance of the epitype concept for reliable species determination in protists such as dinophytes

 1 Department Biologie: Systematik, Biodiversität und Evolution der Pflanzen, GeoBio-Center, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Menzinger Str. 67, D – 80 638 Munich, Germany


Type material, particularly of older taxa, consists of specimens mounted permanently on glass or mica slides or of illustrations only. In many cases, type material is ambiguous and makes reliable species determination problematic. For a correct application of such ambiguous scientific names, the Shenzhen (‘botanical’) Code (ICN) provides a tool for designation of interpretative epitypes. The taxonomic identity of dinophytes is clarified by collecting samples at corresponding type localities. After establishing living strains, species are DNA-barcoded using rRNA sequences and investigated using contemporary light and scanning electron microscopy. Strains that are morphologically consistent with corresponding protologues are used for designation of interpretative epitypes. The significant difference from the historical types is that fully documented epitypes correspond to living material enabling DNA sequencing as well as experiments in ecology. Thus, epitypification is a key tool for a stable taxonomy and reliable species determination.