Character evolution and phylogeny of Dinophysales

First of all I am interested in the molecular phylogeny of and character evolution within Dinophysales. The hypothesis is that the benthic, heterotrophic genus Sinophysis is more basal in the dinophysoid clade/branch.

The acquisition of chloroplasts / kleptochloroplasts / symbionts happened later in Dinophysis species. Sinophysis, Oxyphysis and related species will be isolated from natural sediments and plankton samples and SSU and LSU rDNA sequences will be obtained. The position of the Dinophysiales in molecular phylogenetic trees is under discussion – as well as the topology within the lineage. Phototrophic species of Dinophysis possess a unique type of phycobilin-containing dinoflagellate-chloroplast and a unique organelle, the rhabdosome. It is known that photosynthetic Dinophysis species are mixotrophic and kleptochloroplastidy is under discussion. The heterotrophic species Dinophysis/Phalacroma rotundata is placed at the basal part of the Dinophysis clade. All known Sinophysis species and Oxyphysis are heterotrophic. The delimitations of the genera Dinophysis and Phalacroma and in addition of closely related morphologically very similar taxa will be (re)investiagted in detail, with a focus on the morphology. Samples from as many different oceans/regions as possible should be studies.

In the future we will try to sequence closely related taxa like Amphisolenia, Histioneis and Ornithocercus. Then the morphological diversity will be placed in the molecular phylogenetic context established from the DNA sequencing research. I started these investigations at the University of British Columbia in the Leander laboratory .

HOPPENRATH, M., CHOMÉRAT, N. & LEANDER, B.S. (2013): Molecular phylogeny of Sinophysis: Evaluating the possible early evolutionary history of dinophysoid dinoflagellates. In: Lewis, J.M., Marret, F. & Bradley, L. (eds.) Biological and Geological Perspectives of Dinoflagellates. The Micropalaeontological Society, Special publications. Geological Society, London: 207-214.

Hoppenrath, M., Horiguchi, T., Miyoshi, Y., Selina, M., Taylor, F.J.R. & Leander, B.S. (2007): Taxonomy, phylogeny, biogeography, ecology of Sabulodinium undulatum, including an amended description of the species. Phycol. Res. 55: 159-175.