Cyst-theca relationship, life cycle, and effects of temperature and salinity on the cyst morphology of Gonyaulax baltica sp. nov. (Dinophyceae) from the Baltic Sea area

Marianne Ellegaard, Jane Lewis, Ian Harding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A new species of Gonyaulax, here named Gonyaulax baltica sp. nov., has been isolated from sediment samples from the southeastern Baltic. Culture strains were established from individually isolated cysts, and cyst formation was induced in a nitrogen-depleted medium. Although G. baltica cysts are similar to some forms attributed to Spiniferites bulloideus and the motile stage of G. baltica has affinities with G. spinifera, the combination of features of cyst and motile stage of G. baltica is unique. The culture strains were able to grow at salinity levels from 5 to 55 psu and formed cysts from 10 to 50 psu. Cultures at each salinity level were grown at 12, 16, and 20° C. Temperature- and salinity-controlled morphological variability was found in the resting cysts. Central body size varied with temperature and salinity, and process length varied with salinity. Cysts that formed at extreme salinity levels displayed lower average process length than cysts formed at intermediate salinity levels, and central body length and width were lowest at higher temperature and lower salinity. Models for the relationship between central body size and temperature/salinity and process length and salinity have been developed and may be used to determine relative paleosalinity and paleotemperature levels. Our results on salinity-dependent process length confirm earlier reports on short-spined cysts of this species found in low salinity environments, and the model makes it possible to attempt to quantify past salinity levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-789
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Phycology
Volume38
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2002

Keywords

  • Gonyaulax
  • Gonyaulax baltica sp. nov
  • Morphological variation
  • Paleoecology
  • Salinity
  • Spiniferites bulloideus
  • Temperature

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