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Microorganisms 2014, 2(1), 11-32; doi:10.3390/microorganisms2010011

Towards an Ecological Understanding of Dinoflagellate Cyst Functions

1
Spanish Oceanographic Institute, Subida a Radio Faro 50, Vigo 36390, Spain
2
Aquatic Ecology, Department of Biology, Lund University, Lund 22362, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 September 2013 / Revised: 17 November 2013 / Accepted: 23 November 2013 / Published: 3 January 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology of Dinoflagellates: Advances in the Last 25 Years (1987-2012))
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Abstract

The life cycle of many dinoflagellates includes at least one nonflagellated benthic stage (cyst). In the literature, the different types of dinoflagellate cysts are mainly defined based on morphological (number and type of layers in the cell wall) and functional (long- or short-term endurance) differences. These characteristics were initially thought to clearly distinguish pellicle (thin-walled) cysts from resting (double-walled) dinoflagellate cysts. The former were considered short-term (temporal) and the latter long-term (resting) cysts. However, during the last two decades further knowledge has highlighted the great intricacy of dinoflagellate life histories, the ecological significance of cyst stages, and the need to clarify the functional and morphological complexities of the different cyst types. Here we review and, when necessary, redefine the concepts of resting and pellicle cysts, examining both their structural and their functional characteristics in the context of the life cycle strategies of several dinoflagellate species.
Keywords: cysts; dinoflagellate life cycle strategy; dinoflagellate reproduction; resting cysts; pellicle cysts cysts; dinoflagellate life cycle strategy; dinoflagellate reproduction; resting cysts; pellicle cysts
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Bravo, I.; Figueroa, R.I. Towards an Ecological Understanding of Dinoflagellate Cyst Functions. Microorganisms 2014, 2, 11-32.

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