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Aquatic Microbial Ecology

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AME 76:117-132 (2015)  -  DOI:

Genetic and phenotypic diversity characterization of natural populations of the parasitoid Parvilucifera sinerae 

Marta Turon1, Elisabet Alacid1, Rosa Isabel Figueroa2, Albert Reñé1, Isabel Ferrera1, Isabel Bravo3, Isabel Ramilo3, Esther Garcés1,*

1Departament de Biologia Marina i Oceanografia, Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC, Pg. Marítim de la Barceloneta 37-49, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
2Department of Biology, Lund University, Box 118, 221 00 Lund, Sweden
3Centro Oceanográfico de Vigo, IEO (Instituto Español de Oceanografía), Subida a Radio Faro 50, 36390 Vigo, Spain
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Parasites exert important top-down control of their host populations. The host-parasite system formed by Alexandrium minutum (Dinophyceae) and Parvilucifera sinerae (Perkinsozoa) offers an opportunity to advance our knowledge of parasitism in planktonic communities. In this study, DNA extracted from 73 clonal strains of P. sinerae, from 10 different locations along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, was used to genetically characterize this parasitoid at the species level. All strains showed identical sequences of the small and large subunits and internal transcribed spacer of the ribosomal RNA, as well as of the β-tubulin genes. However, the phenotypical characterization showed variability in terms of host invasion, zoospore success, maturation time, half-maximal infection, and infection rate. This characterization grouped the strains within 3 phenotypic types distinguished by virulence traits. A particular virulence pattern could not be ascribed to host-cell bloom appearance or to the location or year of parasite-strain isolation; rather, some parasitoid strains from the same bloom significantly differed in their virulence traits. Identical markers such as ITS and β-tubulin genes of P. sinerae strains from different geographic areas and from different years precludes their use in assessing intra-specific diversity and could indicate a recent dispersion of this species.

KEY WORDS: Apicomplexa · Dinoflagellates · Host-parasite interactions · Parasitoids · Perkinsozoa · Ribosomal marker

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Cite this article as: Turon M, Alacid E, Figueroa RI, Reñé A and others (2015) Genetic and phenotypic diversity characterization of natural populations of the parasitoid Parvilucifera sinerae . Aquat Microb Ecol 76:117-132.

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