Taxonomic revision, phylogeny, and cyst wall composition of the dinoflagellate cyst genus Votadinium Reid (Dinophyceae, Peridiniales, Protoperidiniaceae)

Pieter R. Gurdebeke, Kenneth N. Mertens, Vera Pospelova, Kazumi Matsuoka, Zhen Li, Kristin E. Gribble, Haifeng Gu, Kara Bogus, Henk Vrielinck, Stephen Louwye

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14 Scopus citations


The taxonomy of the dinoflagellate cyst-based genus Votadinium has been in need of revision. This is accomplished here by integrating morphology, large subunit (LSU) rDNA sequences, and cyst wall composition analyses through micro-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Three new species, Votadinium pontifossatum, V. rhomboideum and V. reidii, are described as cyst stages of Protoperidinium paraoblongum, P. quadrioblongum, and P. steidingerae, respectively. A previously undescribed type of ornamentation is reported for V. pontifossatum. A fourth new species is assigned to V. concavum. Furthermore, Lejeunecysta psilodora Benedek (= Lejeunecysta psuchra Matsuoka), is re-described as V. psilodora and the holotype re-illustrated, as is done for the holotype of V. spinosum Reid. New illustrations are provided for V. elongatum and V. nanhaiense. LSU rDNA sequences of V. concavum reveal its placement in the Oceanica section of the genus Protoperidinium, supporting earlier evidence that the Oceanica section and the cyst-based genus Votadinium form a monophyletic clade. Thus, Votadinium could be considered the cyst equivalent of the motile-defined Oceanica section. The cyst walls of Votadinium spinosum, V. calvum and V. pontifossatum are built from carbohydrate-based macromolecules with N-containing functional groups, in agreement with the heterotrophic nature of their motile stage. Comparison with related genera Trinovantedinium and Quinquecuspis reveals that the species and genera can be separated based on cyst wall composition, supporting a phylogeny based on molecular data and/or ecological differences. Furthermore, Trinovantedinium applanatum spectra unexpectedly show an additional absorption at 1510 cm−1, indicating an aromatic group that is commonly reported for sporopollenin and not seen in dinoflagellate cysts so far. This study stabilizes the taxonomy of the cyst genus Votadinium, clarifies its relationship to the Oceanica section of Protoperidinium, and further supports the application of whole cyst wall chemistry in helping address problems in dinoflagellate cyst taxonomy and ecology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-335
Number of pages26
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Raymond Below and Michael Amler (K?ln University) for permission to study the Benedek collection of Oligocene cyst holotypes. Chris Reid and Charles Wellman (Sheffield University) are thanked for permission to access the Reid holotype collection, and we are grateful to Prof. He Chengquan for permission to reproduce his holotype images. The Regional Council of Brittany, the General Council of Finist?re and the urban community of Concarneau-Cornouaille-Agglom?ration are acknowledged for the funding of the Sigma 300 FE-SEM of the station of Marine Biology in Concarneau. Kara Bogus acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation (OCE?1326927). The Research Foundation Flanders (FWO, Hercules Foundation) is thanked for funding the micro-FTIR facility (FT-IMAGER, project number AUGE/13/16). Ocean Networks Canada (ONC), Audrey Dallimore (Royal Roads University) and students of EOS313 (SEOS, University of Victoria) are all thanked for their contributions to sediment sample collection. Vera Pospelova acknowledges support from a Discovery Grant (RGPIN/6388-2015) of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 AASP–The Palynological Society.


  • cyst wall composition
  • dinoflagellate cyst
  • dual nomenclature
  • micro-FTIR
  • ornamentation
  • sporopollenin
  • taxonomy


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