Ocean Science Journal

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 1–17 | Cite as

Morphology and molecular characterization of the epiphytic dinoflagellate Prorocentrum cf. rhathymum in temperate waters off Jeju Island, Korea

  • An Suk Lim
  • Hae Jin JeongEmail author
  • Tae Young Jang
  • Nam Seon Kang
  • Sung Yeon Lee
  • Yeong Du Yoo
  • Hyung Seop Kim


Prorocentrum spp. are planktonic and/or benthic species. Benthic Prorocentrum species are of primary concern to scientists and the public because some of them are toxic. We established clonal cultures of 3 strains of Prorocentrum species that were collected from the thalli of a macroalga in the coastal waters off Jeju Island, located at the southern end of Korea. The Korean strains of P. cf. rhathymum, which are morphologically almost identical to the Virgin Island strain of P. rhathymum, were different from P. mexicanum because the former dinoflagellate has one simple collar-like spine in the periflagellar area, while the latter dinoflagellate has a 2- or 3-horned spine. In addition, the sequences of the small subunit (SSU) rDNA of the Korean strains were identical to those of the Malaysian and Floridian strains of P. rhathymum, while the sequences of the large subunit (LSU) rDNA of the Korean strains were 0.1–0.9% different from those of the Iranian and Malaysian strains of P. rhathymum. In phylogenetic trees based on the SSU rDNA sequences, the Korean strains of P. rhathymum formed a clade with the Malaysian and Floridian strains of P. rhathymum and the Vietnamese and Polynesian strains of P. mexicanum. However, in phylogenetic trees based on the LSU rDNA sequences, the Korean strains of P. rhathymum formed a clade with the Iranian strain of P. rhathymum and the Spanish and Mexican strains of P. mexicanum. Therefore, the molecular characterization of the Korean strains does not allow us to clearly classify them as P. rhathymum, nor P. mexicanum, although their morphology has so far been reported to be closer to that of P. rhathymum than P. mexicanum and thus we designated them as P. cf. rhathymum.

Key words

benthic epiphytic LSU Prorocentrum protist rDNA SSU 


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Copyright information

© Korea Ocean Research & Development Institute (KORDI) and the Korean Society of Oceanography (KSO) and Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • An Suk Lim
    • 1
  • Hae Jin Jeong
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tae Young Jang
    • 1
  • Nam Seon Kang
    • 1
  • Sung Yeon Lee
    • 1
  • Yeong Du Yoo
    • 1
  • Hyung Seop Kim
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, College of Natural SciencesSeoul National UniversitySeoulKorea
  2. 2.Department of Marine Biotechnology, College of Ocean SciencesKunsan National UniversityGunsanKorea

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