Diversity in the genus Skeletonema (bacillariophyceae): III. Phylogenetic position and morphological variability of Skeletonema costatum and Skeletonema grevillei, with the description of Skeletonema ardens sp. nov.

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Skeletonema costatum (Grev.) Cleve emend. Zingone et Sarno and S. grevillei Sarno et Zingone were known only from the type material collected from Hong Kong waters more than a century ago. Both species have now been collected as live material, and their morphology and phylogenetic position are investigated in this study. Eight Skeletonema strains isolated from Florida, USA; Uruguay; and Brazil are attributed to S. costatum, while one strain from Oman is ascribed to S. grevillei based on morphological similarity to the type material of these species. In addition, a new Skeletonema species, S. ardens Sarno et Zingone, is described for a strain from Singapore and two from northern Australian waters. Skeletonema ardens has terminal fultoportula processes ending in a tapered, undulate protrusion and long intercalary fultoportulae with 1:1 junctions. The rimoportula of terminal valves is located at the margin of the valve face. No major morphological variations were observed within S. grevillei and S. ardens along a salinity gradient, whereas in S. costatum, the processes shortened and the valves came into close contact at low salinities, as already described for S. subsalsum (Cleve) Bethge. Consistent with their morphology, Skeletonema costatum and Skeletonema subsalsum also had similar rDNA sequences. Skeletonema grevillei and S. ardens were distinct in the large subunit (LSU) phylogeny. Skeletonema ardens exhibited consistent intraspecific genetic differences in both the LSU and small subunit (SSU) rDNA. © 2007 by the Phycological Society of America.

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Journal of Phycology