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Ecological differentiation between sympatric pseudocryptic species in the estuarine benthic diatom Navicula phyllepta (Bacillariophyceae)
Vanelslander, B.; Creach, V.; Vanormelingen, P.; Ernst, A.; Chepurnov, V.A.; Sahan, E.; Muyzer, G.; Stal, L.J.; Vyverman, W.; Sabbe, K. (2011). Ecological differentiation between sympatric pseudocryptic species in the estuarine benthic diatom Navicula phyllepta (Bacillariophyceae), in: Vanelslander, B. Diversity and ecosystem functioning in estuarine intertidal microphytobenthos. pp. 21-54
In: Vanelslander, B. (2011). Diversity and ecosystem functioning in estuarine intertidal microphytobenthos. PhD Thesis. Universiteit Gent, Vakgroep Biologie, Sectie Protistologie en Aquatische ecologie: Gent. 200 pp., more

Also published as
  • Vanelslander, B.; Creach, V.; Vanormelingen, P.; Ernst, A.; Chepurnov, V.A.; Sahan, E.; Muyzer, G.; Stal, L.J.; Vyverman, W.; Sabbe, K. (2009). Ecological differentiation between sympatric pseudocryptic species in the estuarine benthic diatom Navicula phyllepta (Bacillariophyceae). J. Phycol. 45(6): 1278-1289. dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1529-8817.2009.00762.x, more

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Keywords
    Abundance; Animal morphology; Diatoms; Environmental conditions; Niches; Regression analysis; RNA; Salinity; Salinity tolerance; Bacillariophyceae [WoRMS]; Navicula phyllepta Kützing, 1844 [WoRMS]; ANE, Netherlands, Westerschelde [Marine Regions]; Brackish water
Author keywords
    18S rRNA gene; diatom; Navicula phyllepta; niche differentiation; pseudocryptic diversity; ribosomal internal transcribed spacer; RUBISCO large subunit (rbcL); salinity; valve morphology

Authors  Top 
  • Vanelslander, B., more
  • Creach, V.
  • Vanormelingen, P., more
  • Ernst, A.
  • Chepurnov, V.A., more

Abstract
    The occurrence of cryptic and pseudocryptic species, often living in sympatry, is widespread among microalgae. This phenomenon raises important questions about niche partitioning between these closely related species. To date, however, few studies have addressed the ecological mechanisms underlying sympatry in cryptic and pseudocryptic species. As a result, we have only a limited understanding of the factors that govern their distribution along environmental gradients. Here, we used the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS), 18S rRNA gene, and the RUBISCO LSU (rbcL) chloroplast gene sequence data together with cell wall morphology to show that estuarine populations of the widespread and common benthic diatom Navicula phyllepta Kütz. consist of pseudocryptic species. Growth rate measurements in function of salinity showed that N. phyllepta strains assigned to the different species differed in their tolerance to low salinities (<5 practical salinity units, psu), which was reflected by their different (but widely overlapping) distribution in the Westerschelde estuary (the Netherlands). Multiple regression analyses of the factors determining the abundance of the different species in field samples revealed that, in addition to salinity, sediment type and ammonium concentrations were probably equally important. Our results show that N. phyllepta sensu lato comprises different species with specialized ecophysiological characteristics rather than generalists with a broad adaptability to different environmental conditions.

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