Encyclopedia of Metagenomics

Living Edition
| Editors: Karen E. Nelson

Diversity and Distribution of Marine Microbial Eukaryotes

  • Connie Lovejoy
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6418-1_768-2

Marine microbial eukaryotes (MME) are morphologically, phylogenetically, and functionally diverse. The term protist is often used but not a valid taxonomic classification (Adl et al. 2005, 2007), and evolutionary relationships among MME at the highest taxonomic ranks remain controversial.

Functionally, they span all trophic levels, with phototrophic, heterotrophic, and mixotrophic taxa, where mixotrophic taxa are able to use both photosynthesis and heterotrophy as sources for carbon and energy. Taxonomically MME are found among all major branches of the eukaryotic tree of life, with the exception, at least up until now, of the Excavata (Adl et al. 2012). This taxonomic and functional diversity is also manifest in morphological diversity over several microscopic scales, depending on the group.

Unassignable taxa: Taxa that do not fit within descriptions based on standard taxonomy. In the case of gene sequences, this occurs when the sequence in question shows little homology with other...


Eukaryotic Alga Heterotrophic Protist Endosymbiotic Event Primary Plastid High Taxonomic Rank 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Adl SM, Simpson AGB, Farmer MA, Andersen RA, Anderson OR, Barta JR, Bowser SS, Brugerolle G, Fensome RA, Fredericq S, James TY, Karpov S, Kugrens P, Krug J, Lane CE, Lewis LA, Lodge J, Lynn DH, Mann DG, McCourt RM, Mendoza L, Moestrup O, Mozley-Standridge SE, Nerad TA, Shearer CA, Smirnov AV, Spiegel FW, Taylor M. The new higher level classification of eukaryotes with emphasis on the taxonomy of protists. J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2005;52:399–451.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adl SM, Leander BS, Simpson AGB, Archibald JM, Anderson OR, Bass D, Bowser SS, Brugerolle G, Farmer MA, Karpov S, Kolisko M, Lane CE, Lodge DJ, Mann DG, Meisterfeld R, Mendoza L, Moestrup O, Mozley-Standridge SE, Smirnov AV, Spiegel F. Diversity, nomenclature, and taxonomy of protists. Syst Biol. 2007;56:684–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Adl SM, Simpson AGB, Lane CE, Lukes J, Bass D, Bowser SS, Brown MW, Burki F, Dunthorn M, Hampl V, Heiss A, Hoppenrath M, Lara E, le Gall L, Lynn DH, McManus H, Mitchell EAD, Mozley-Stanridge SE, Parfrey LW, Pawlowski J, Rueckert S, Shadwick L, Schoch CL, Smirnov A, Spiegel FW. The revised classification of eukaryotes. J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2012;59:429–93.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Amaral-Zettler LA, McCliment EA, Ducklow HW, Huse SM. A method for studying protistan diversity using massively parallel sequencing of V9 hypervariable regions of small-subunit ribosomal RNA genes. Plos ONE. 2009;4.Google Scholar
  5. Baurain D, Brinkmann H, Petersen J, Rodriguez-Ezpeleta N, Stechmann A, Demoulin V, Roger AJ, Burger G, Lang BF, Philippe H. Phylogenomic evidence for separate acquisition of plastids in cryptophytes, haptophytes, and stramenopiles. Mol Biol Evol. 2010;27:1698–709.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Comeau AM, Li WKW, Tremblay J-É, Carmack EC, Lovejoy C. Arctic ocean microbial community structure before and after the 2007 record sea ice minimum. Plos ONE. 2011;6:e27492.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Diez B, Pedros-Alio C, Massana R. Study of genetic diversity of eukaryotic picoplankton in different oceanic regions by small-subunit rRNA gene cloning and sequencing. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2001;67:2932–41.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Groisillier A, Massana R, Valentin K, Vaulotl D, Guilloul L. Genetic diversity and habitats of two enigmatic marine alveolate lineages. Aquat Microb Ecol. 2006;42:277–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ichinomiya M, Yoshikawa S, Kamiya M, Ohki K, Takaichi S, and Kuwata A. Isolation and characterization of Parmales (Heterokonta/Heterokontophyta/stramenopiles) from the Oyashio region, western North Pacific. J Phycol. 2011;47:144–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Keeling PJ. Chromalveolates and the evolution of plastids by secondary endosymbiosis. J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2009;56:1–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kosman CA, Thomsen HA, Ostergaard JB. Parmales (Chrysophyceae) from Mexican, Californian, Baltic, Arctic and Antarctic waters with the description of a new subspecies and several new forms. Phycologia. 1993;32:116–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lovejoy C, Legendre L, Martineau MJ, Bacle J, von Quillfeldt CH. Distribution of phytoplankton and other protists in the North Water. Deep-Sea Res Part II Top Stud Oceanogr. 2002;49:5027–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Massana R, Castresana J, Balague V, Guillou L, Romari K, Groisillier A, Valentin K, Pedros-Alio C. Phylogenetic and ecological analysis of novel marine stramenopiles. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004;70:3528–34.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Massana R, Unrein F, Rodriguez-Martinez R, Forn I, Lefort T, Pinhassi J, Not F. Grazing rates and functional diversity of uncultured heterotrophic flagellates. ISME J. 2009;3:588–96.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Moon-van der Staay SY, De Wachter R, Vaulot D. Oceanic 18S rDNA sequences from picoplankton reveal unsuspected eukaryotic diversity. Nature. 2001;409:607–10.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Not F, Valentin K, Romari K, Lovejoy C, Massana R, Tobe K, Vaulot D, Medlin LK. Picobiliphytes: a marine picoplanktonic algal group with unknown affinities to other eukaryotes. Science. 2007;315:253–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Not F, Latasa M, Scharek R, Viprey M, Karleskind P, Balague V, Ontoria-Oviedo I, Cumino A, Goetze E, Vaulot D, Massana R. Protistan assemblages across the Indian Ocean, with a specific emphasis on the picoeukaryotes. Deep-Sea Res Part I Oceanogr Res Pap. 2008;55:1456–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Raven JA, Finkel ZV, Irwin AJ. Picophytoplankton: bottom-up and top-down controls on ecology and evolution. Vie Et Milieu-Life Environ. 2005;55:209–15.Google Scholar
  19. Reyes-Prieto A, Yoon HS, Moustafa A, Yang EC, Andersen RA, Boo SM, Nakayama T, Ishida K, Bhattacharya D. Differential gene retention in plastids of common recent origin. Mol Biol Evol. 2010;27:1530–7.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rozanska M, Poulin M, Gosselin M. Protist entrapment in newly formed sea ice in the Coastal Arctic Ocean. J Mar Syst. 2008;74:887–901.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Seenivasan R, Sausen N, Medlin LK, Melkonian M. Picomonas judraskeda gen. et sp. nov.: The first identified member of the Picozoa Phylum nov., a widespread group of picoeukaryotes, formerly known as ‘picobiliphytes’. PLoS ONE 2013;8(3):e59565. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059565.Google Scholar
  22. Skovgaard A, Massana R, Balague V, Saiz E. Phylogenetic position of the copepod-infesting parasite Syndinium turbo (Dinoflagellata, Syndinea). Protist. 2005;156:413–23.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Taylor FJR, Hoppenrath M, Saldarriaga JF. Dinoflagellate diversity and distribution. Biodivers Conserv. 2008;17:407–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Thaler M, Lovejoy C. Distribution and diversity of a protist predator Cryothecomonas (Cercozoa) in Arctic marine waters. J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2012;59:291–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Vaulot D, Eikrem W, Viprey M, Moreau H. The diversity of small eukaryotic phytoplankton (<= 3 mu m) in marine ecosystems. FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2008;32:795–820.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Yoon HS, Price DC, Stepanauskas R, Rajah VD, Sieracki ME, Wilson WH, Yang EC, Duffy S, Bhattacharya D. Single-cell genomics reveals organismal interactions in uncultivated marine protists. Science. 2011;332:714–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyLaval UniversityQuébecCanada