A Parasitic Dinoflagellate of the Ctenophore Mnemiosis sp.
Type of Degreethesis
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In this study I have sought to characterize a previously unknown parasitic dinoflagellate, which is associated with the costal ctenophore Mnemiopsis sp. Here, I describe its general morphology, based on an identification system created by Charles Kofoid used specifically for dinoflagellates. The identification system, Kofoid plate tabulation, allows for identification of genera or possibly species. The plate tabulation is used to interpret the gross morphological characters, number of thecal plates, and their arrangement. The study will also present on an overview of its parasitic relationship with the host and its reproductive capacity. Lastly, the study finishs with the phylogenetic placement based on rDNA, ITS, and cyt b molecular analysis. I conclude that the dinoflagellate’s phylogeny is placed tentatively into the genus Pentapharsodinium due to the inconsistencies within the monophyletic E/Pe clade. The life cycle of the dinoflagellate is characteristic of a parasite. However, the ability to successfully culture the dinoflagellate would suggest it is mixotrophic opportunistic parasite.