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Lopez, Alejandro Izquierdo; Kretschmann, Juliane; Calasan, Anze Zerdoner; Gottschling, Marc (2018): The many faces of Peridinium cinctum (Peridiniaceae, Peridiniales): morphological and molecular variability in a common dinophyte. In: European Journal of Phycology, Vol. 53, No. 2: pp. 156-165
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Peridinium cinctum is a common freshwater dinophyte with a long history of research. Erich Lindemann was the first to assess intraspecific variability in this species focusing on plate pattern variation. Since then, this issue has been neglected but with the application of DNA sequence diagnostics, a combination of morphological and molecular characters may enable taxonomic delimitations. Our aim was to identify distinct morphotypes using plate pattern as the main characteristic and then compare them to the geographic occurrence of particular ribotypes (as inferred from sequences of the Internal Transcribed Spacer: ITS) in samples from Central Europe. Approximately 200 observations were carried out under the inverse light microscope for each of a total of 15 strains. We observed two main variations from the abundant plate pattern in P. cinctum, namely an unusual position of the 2a plate and the irregular shape of the 1a plate. In 88 (predominantly clonal) strains, we identified five different ribotypes (submitted as 71 new GenBank entries) which had no clear correlation to the defined morphotypes and/or spatial occurrences. In four cases, we detected two distinct ribotypes at the same locality. However, samples collected south of the Danube River presented a different predominant morphotype from the rest of the samples, thus implying a potential biogeographic signal as inferred from morphology. In general, there is morphological and molecular variability in P. cinctum, which is under-studied and which may uncover geographic or ecological correlations or even the existence of cryptic species.