Systematics, Biodiversity and Evolution of Plants

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Monday March 21, 2022, 11am CET


Albert REÑÉ1*

Insights on sand-dwelling dinoflagellates communities combining morphological and metabarcoding approaches

1 Institut de Ciències del Mar (CSIC) Pg. Marítim de la Barceloneta, 37-49 08003 Barcelona, Catalonia (Spain)


Around 10% of known marine dinoflagellates species are benthic. However, the diversity of sand-dwelling dinoflagellates remains unexplored in many areas, and little is known about their distribution and ecology. During last years, efforts have been conducted to determine the community composition of sand-dwelling dinoflagellates in the NW Mediterranean Sea combining morphological (light and electron microscopy) and molecular (single-cell PCR, metabarcoding of V4 18S rDNA) techniques. Such approach was also performed in the German Wadden Sea, an area were benthic dinoflagellates are well known. The morphological characterization and molecular information obtained resulted in the description of several new species and genera, and the taxonomic reclassification of some others. The performance of treatments commonly used to retrieve genomic DNA from sediments was then evaluated, determining the accuracy of information obtained by metabarcoding. The molecular characterization of Mediterranean communities allowed the observation of some trends in the temporal dynamics during spring and summer, including the temporality of some species. Additionally, significant differences in the community composition of Wadden Sea locations were observed. All these studies highlight that a better performance is achieved when combining microscopy observations and molecular approaches. In any case, efforts are still needed to characterize sand-dwelling dinoflagellates, and to better understand the spatial and temporal distribution of species and their ecological role.