Marine benthic dinoflagellates – their relevance for science and society

Mona Hoppenrath, Nicolas Chomérat, Takeo Horiguchi, Shauna A. Murray & Lesley Rhodes  

This book is the most comprehensive summary of our knowledge of benthic dinoflagellate species, including a compilation of their toxins.

Dinoflagellates are important primary producers, symbionts and, at the same time, heterotrophic consumers and parasites. The species composition in benthic habitats is quite distinct from planktonic habitats. Our understanding of benthic dinoflagellate biodiversity, biogeography, toxicology and ecology has improved but is still rudimentary. Benthic harmful algal blooms have attracted increasing interest because of the impact of ciguatera poisoning, the most important food-borne disease of non-bacterial origin worldwide, which is caused by benthic dinoflagellate species. Ciguatera poisoning appears to have increased worldwide in recent years. 

This publication is an updated summary of the taxonomy of currently described taxa and includes morphological and for the first time molecular genetic information for species identification. It contains the most comprehensive review of benthic dinoflagellate toxins published so far. The book also describes methods of study, discusses phylogenetics and evolution, and highlights their scientific relevance as well as the health and economic impacts of benthic dinoflagellates for society.

Compared to the first edition (KSR Vol. 54), 64 new species, 20 new genera and 19 new combinations are described. All chapters have been revised to reflect the latest knowledge and more than 150 new publications have been integrated. The methods section has been expanded to include light microscopy, molecular genetic methods for detection and quantification, and toxicity tests and toxin analyses. For example, a new sampling method that can also be used for quantification is described, as is the metabarcoding approach to biodiversity detection. Species descriptions have been expanded, in many cases with information on molecular identification. The chapter on toxins has been updated. The chapter Relevance for science and society has been added. In parallel to the new
edition, identification helps and matrix keys will be available online via the pages of the “Centre of Excellence for Dinophyte Taxonomy” (CEDiT).

This book is a fundamental contribution to improving the monitoring of benthic dinoflagellates worldwide: 242 species in 63 genera are presented, illustrated with more than 240 color images, about 250 electron micrographs and more than 330 drawings


Mona Hoppenrath, Nicolas Chomérat, Takeo Horiguchi, Shauna A. Murray & Lesley Rhodes 


Marine benthic dinoflagellates – their relevance for science and society 




Greetings 4 

Foreword 5 

Contents 6 


  1. Introduction 9


  1. Materials & Methods 14

Habitats 14 

Sampling 14 

Extraction = separation from the substrate 16 

Light Microscopy (LM) and epifluorescence 17 

Fixation and Electron Microscopy (EM) 18 

Culturing 19 

Quantification 19 

Molecular Genetic Methods of Detection and Quantification 20 

Toxicity tests and toxin analyses 22 


III. Taxonomy 23 

Adenoides 23 

Aduncodinium 26 

Ailadinium 28 

Alexandrium 30 

Amphidiniella 32 

Amphidiniopsis 34 

Amphidinium 55 

Ankistrodinium 70 

Ansanella 72 

Apicoporus 74 

Bindiferia 76 

Bispinodinium 78 

Blixaea 80 

Bysmatrum 83 

Cabra 91 

Caladoa 94 

Carinadinium 96 

Ceratocorys 100 

Chiharadinium 101 

Chrysodinium 104 

Coolia 105 

Coutea 116 

Dinothrix 116 

Durinskia 120 

Fukuyoa 124 

Gambierdiscus 127 

Glenodinium 140 

Gymnodinium 141 

Gyrodinium 146 

Halostylodinium 151 

Herdmania 152 

Heterocapsa 154 

Katodinium 155 

Laciniporus 157 

Madanidinium 160 

Moestrupia 160 

Nusuttodinium 162 

Ostreopsis 165 

Pachena 179 

Paragymnodinium 181 

Pellucidodinium 183 

Pentaplacodinium 184 

Pileidinium 185 

Plagiodinium 187 

Planodinium 188 

Polykrikos 190 

Prorocentrum 192 

Psammodinium 216 

Pseudadenoides 218 

Pseudothecadinium 220 

Pyramidodinium 222 

Rhinodinium 224 

Roscoffia 228 

Sabulodinium 229 

Sinophysis 231 

Speroidium 240 

Spiniferodinium 241 

Stylodinium 244 

Symbiodiniales 246 

Testudodinium 246 

Thecadinium 250 

Togula 255 

Vulcanodinium 258 


  1. Phylogeny and systematics 260

Phylogeny of the morphological adaptations 260 

Amphidinium 261 

Amphidiniopsis, Archaeperidinium, Herdmania – Peridiniales 262 

Cabra, Rhinodinium, Roscoffia – Podolampadaceae 263 

Gonyaulacales 263 

Prorocentrum & Pseudadenoides/Adenoides 266 

Sinophysis & Sabulodinium 267 

‘Dinotoms’ – Blixaea, Dinothrix, Durinskia 267 

Dinoflagellate taxa with cryptophyte-(klepto)chloroplasts – Nusuttodinium 268 

The phytodinialean dinoflagellates (‘Phytodiniales’) 268 


  1. Toxins of benthic dinoflagellates and benthic harmful algal blooms 269

Introduction 269 

Gambierdiscus & Fukuyoa 270 

Ostreopsis 279 

Coolia 282 

Prorocentrum 286 

Amphidinium 291 

Alexandrium 292 

Durinskia 292 

Vulcanodinium 293 


  1. Relevance for science and society 295

Important areas for basic research 295 

  1. General dinoflagellate evolution 295
  2. Chloroplast evolution in (benthic) dinoflagellates 296
  3. Nutritional supplements and natural products from benthic dinoflagellates 299
  4. The genetics and evolution of dinoflagellate toxicity 300

Health, social and economic impacts 301 

Ostreopsis and palytoxins 301 

Gambierdiscus and ciguatoxins 304 

Vulcanodinium and pinnatoxins 308 

Prorocentrum and okadaic acid 309 

Impacts of BHABs on marine biota 310 

Conclusions 311 


References 312 

Taxonomic index 363 

Acknowledgements 369 

Useful web pages 371 

Picture credits 372 

Authors’ Addresses 373 

Imprint 376 



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