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Cryptic species in the parasitic Amoebophrya species complex revealed by a polyphasic approach

Abstract : As critical primary producers and recyclers of organic matter, the diversity of marine protists has been extensively explored by high-throughput barcode sequencing. However, classification of short metabarcoding sequences into traditional taxonomic units is not trivial, especially for lineages mainly known by their genetic fingerprints. This is the case for the widespread Amoebophrya ceratii species complex, parasites of their dinoflagellate congeners. We used genetic and phenotypic characters, applied to 119 Amoebophrya individuals sampled from the same geographic area, to construct practical guidelines for species delineation that could be applied in DNA/RNA based diversity analyses. Based on the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions, ITS2 compensatory base changes (CBC) and genome k-mer comparisons, we unambiguously defined eight cryptic species among closely related ribotypes that differed by less than 97% sequence identity in their SSU rDNA. We then followed the genetic signatures of these parasitic species during a three-year survey of Alexandrium minutum blooms. We showed that these cryptic Amoebophrya species co-occurred and shared the same ecological niche. We also observed a maximal ecological fitness for parasites having narrow to intermediate host ranges, reflecting a high cost for infecting a broader host range. This study suggests that a complete taxonomic revision of these parasitic dinoflagellates is long overdue to understand their diversity and ecological role in the marine plankton.
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Contributor : Christian Jeanthon Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, February 3, 2020 - 10:06:16 AM
Last modification on : Friday, October 14, 2022 - 3:34:11 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Monday, May 4, 2020 - 1:06:27 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-02377799, version 2


Ruibo Cai, Ehsan Kayal, Catharina Alves-De-Souza, Estelle Bigeard, Erwan Corre, et al.. Cryptic species in the parasitic Amoebophrya species complex revealed by a polyphasic approach. {date}. ⟨hal-02377799v2⟩



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