Scientia Marina, Vol 70, No 1 (2006)

Morphology and rDNA phylogeny of a Mediterranean Coolia monotis (Dinophyceae) strain from Greece

Nicolas P. Dolapsakis
Department of Ecology and Systematics, Faculty of Biology, University of Athens, Greece

Michael W. Kilpatrick
Ikonisys Inc., United States

Athena Economou-Amilli
Department of Ecology and Systematics, Faculty of Biology, University of Athens, Greece

Triantafyllos Tafas
Department of Ecology and Systematics, Faculty of Biology, University of Athens, Greece

Ikonisys Inc., 5 Science Park, New Haven 06511, Connecticut, USA


Sequences of LSU and SSU ribosomal RNA genes and phylogeny have not been widely investigated for the dinoflagellate Coolia monotis Meunier, and no information is available on the small and large rDNA subunits of Mediterranean strains. A strain isolated from the Thermaikos Gulf in northern Greece was identified as C. monotis—a new record for the Greek algal flora—using thecal morphology by light, epifluorescence and scanning electron microscopy. The small subunit and partial (D1/D2) large subunit sequences were analyzed and compared to other strains of C. monotis and dinoflagellates from various regions. Thecal architecture showed that the Greek strain of C. monotis was phenotypically similar, but not identical, to other strains reported in literature. The partial LSU sequence (700 bp) was found to vary by 113 bp positions (16%) from the C. monotis strain from New Zealand, whereas the SSU (1757 bp) had 15 bp differences (0.85%) from the strain from Norway. Phylogenetic tree construction showed that the Greek strain fell within the Coolia clade and had a close relationship with the families Ostreopsidaceae and Goniodomaceae of the order Gonyaulacales. Preliminary findings suggest the existence of different genotype strains of C. monotis with large intraspecific genetic variability and minimal morphological differentiation (similar phenotypes). Certain ecological and evolutionary implications of these findings are discussed.


Coolia monotis; Greece; microscopy; rDNA; taxonomy; phylogeny

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