The phylogenetic relationships of the Dinophyceae (Alveolata) are not sufficiently resolved at present. The Thoracosphaeraceae (Peridiniales) are the only group of the Alveolata that include members with calcareous coccoid stages; this trait is considered apomorphic. Although the coccoid stage appar- ently is not calcareous, Bysmatrum has been assigned to the Thoracosphaeraceae based on thecal morphology. We tested the monophyly of the Thoracosphaeraceae using large sets of ribosomal RNA sequence data of the Alveolata including the Dinophyceae. Phylogenetic analyses were performed using Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian approaches. The Thoracosphaeraceae were monophyletic, but included also a number of non-calcareous dinophytes (such as Pentapharsodinium and Pfiesteria) and even parasites (such as Duboscquodinium and Tintinnophagus). Bysmatrum had an isolated and uncertain phylogenetic position outside the Thoracosphaeraceae. The phylogenetic relationships among calcareous dinophytes appear complex, and the assumption of the single origin of the potential to produce calcareous structures is challenged. The application of concatenated ribosomal RNA sequence data may prove promising for phylogenetic reconstructions of the Dinophyceae in future.
Helmholtz Research Programs > PACES I (2009-2013) > TOPIC 2: Coastal Change > WP 2.2: Integrating evolutionary Ecology into Coastal and Shelf Processes