Marine nanoplankton (39091)

Project Details


The project is focusing on two groups of marine nanoflagellates, the loricate choanoflagellates and the weakly calcified coccolithophorids from polar seas.

Choanoflagellates are present in all aquatic environments and contribute a significant share of the heterotrophic nanoflagellate biomass. Recent molecular evidence has documented that the choanoflagellates is a sister group of the animal kingdom, a fact that has further increased the research focus on these organisms. This project will result in a monographic treatment of all loricate taxa described (c. 150) building upon the increasing molecular evidence unveiling relationships among genera and species, and a significantly improved understanding of the principles behind lorica formation.

Coccolithophorids are abundantly present with high species diversity in low latitude oceans. However, a small contingent of taxa has been shown to prevail in polar seas. Contrary to all other coccolithophorid species the polar contingent are all non-photosynthetic forms. Within this project attempts will be made 1) to sequence as many of these forms as possible in order to evaluate their relationship with coccolithophorids at large, and 2) provide hard core evidence from TEM thin sectioning of the lack of a photosynthetic organelle. All genera and species described will in turn be revisited in order to prepare a future reference basis.

Research area: Oceanography
Effective start/end date01/01/201331/12/2017


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