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Functional diversity in cryptic species of Chaetoceros socialis Lauder (Bacillariophyceae)
Degerlund, M.; Huseby, S.; Zingone, A.; Landfald, B. (2012). Functional diversity in cryptic species of Chaetoceros socialis Lauder (Bacillariophyceae). J. Plankton Res. 34(5): 416-431.
In: Journal of Plankton Research. Oxford University Press: New York,. ISSN 0142-7873; e-ISSN 1464-3774, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Bacillariophyceae [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    functional diversity, cryptic diversity, cosmopolitan, species concept, diatoms

Authors  Top 
  • Degerlund, M.
  • Huseby, S.
  • Zingone, A., more
  • Landfald, B.

    The cosmopolitan distribution of the marine planktonic diatom Chaetoceros socialis Lauder is generally interpreted as a case of wide ecological plasticity. However, cryptic diversity has recently been observed within this taxon and this genetic diversity could extend to phenotypic differences between allopatric populations. Monoclonal strains of C. socialis isolated from NE Atlantic/Arctic and Tyrrhenian Sea waters were cultivated at 2.5, 8 and 13°C, and analysed for morphological, phylogenetic (LSU rRNA gene) and physiological (growth rate, photosynthetic yield) traits. The molecular analysis indicated an unequivocal divergence between the southern and the northern strains. Clear differences in spore morphology between the two groups were also observed, despite their morphological similarity in vegetative form. The physiological data demonstrated a functional partition between the northern and southern strains. The northern strains showed significantly higher growth rates than the southern ones at the lower temperatures, and vice versa at 13°C. Differences between the groups were also observed in the photosynthetic yields. These results reveal the expression of allopatric speciation in several phenotypic characters, providing a functional dimension to the cryptic, or rather pseudo-cryptic, diversity observed within C. socialis. We believe that such an integrated approach is useful for robust taxonomic and functional delimitations of presumed cosmopolitan microorganisms.

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