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Botanica Marina

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Volume 60, Issue 3

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Two new epizoic Achnanthes species (Bacillariophyta) living on marine turtles from Costa Rica

Roksana MajewskaORCID iD: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-2681-4304
  • Corresponding author
  • Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, School of Biological Sciences, North-West University, Private Bag X6001, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa
  • South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB), Private Bag 1015, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
  • Department of Environmental, Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technologies, University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, via Vivaldi 43, 81100 Caserta, Italy
  • orcid.org/0000-0003-2681-4304
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  • Other articles by this author:
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/ Mario De Stefano
  • Department of Environmental, Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technologies, University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, via Vivaldi 43, 81100 Caserta, Italy
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/ Luc Ector
  • Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), Environmental Research and Innovation Department (ERIN), 41 rue du Brill, L-4422 Belvaux, Grand-duchy of Luxembourg
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/ Federico Bolaños / Thomas A. Frankovich
  • Florida International University, Florida Bay Interagency Science Center, 98630 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, FL 33037, USA
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/ Michael J. Sullivan / Matt P. Ashworth / Bart Van de Vijver
  • Botanic Garden Meise, Department of Bryophyta and Thallophyta, Nieuwelaan 38, B-1860 Meise, Belgium
  • University of Antwerp, Department of Biology, ECOBE, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Wilrijk, Belgium
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Published Online: 2017-05-16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bot-2016-0114

Abstract

It has been known for a long time that marine mammals, such as whales and dolphins, host a very specific epizoic community on their skin. Whether or not a similar community exists on the carapaces of sea turtles is less studied. The present paper describes two new epizoic diatoms from the genus Achnanthes sensu stricto, Achnanthes elongata and Achnanthes squaliformis, found on the carapaces of nesting olive ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) in Ostional Beach on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, based upon detailed scanning electron microscopy and comparison with the type material of Achnanthes groenlandica var. phinneyi and Achnanthes pseudogroenlandica. The two taxa appear to be closely related on the basis of their morphological features including long, slender valves, absence of terminal orbiculi, large cribrate areolae and absence of typical costae on the internal virgae of both valves. They can, however, be differentiated from each other by the number of areolae per stria, the position of the rapheless sternum and differences in their length/width ratio.

This article offers supplementary material which is provided at the end of the article.

Keywords: Achnanthes; Bacillariophyta; Costa Rica; epizoic diatoms; marine turtles

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About the article

Roksana Majewska

Roksana Majewska is a post-doctoral research fellow at North-West University in South Africa. She graduated in Biological Oceanography (MSc, University of Gdansk, Poland) and Novel Physics Methodologies for Environmental Sciences (PhD, II University of Naples, Italy). Her dissertation research focused on taxonomy, ecology and biogeography of marine Antarctic epiphytic diatoms. She has collaborated on various multidisciplinary projects in subjects including biotechnology, geology, biophysics, nanostructures, pharmacology and medicine. Nevertheless, her primary interests remain in diatom biology and ecology. Her most recent research project deals with the phenomenon of diatom epibiosis and surface associations in marine communities.

Mario De Stefano

Mario De Stefano is an associate professor at the University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli” in Italy. He graduated in Biology (MSc) and in Biology of Algae (PhD) from the University of Naples “Federico II” and has been engaged in benthic ecological studies at Stazione Zoologica “A. Dohrn” in Naples. His research interests focus on temperate, tropical and polar diatom life histories, biology of other extremophiles and applications of this resaerch in nanotechnology, optoelectronics, photonics, biosensoring and bioinspired innovative materials and products. These research activities involve several collaborations with national and international scientific institutes, universities and private companies.

Luc Ector

Luc Ector is a botanist and senior researcher at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST). He has been working on diatoms in rivers, lakes and soils for the last 30 years and was president of the “Association des Diatomistes de Langue Française (ADLaF)”, which organizes annual meetings on diatom taxonomy, ecology and related subjects. Over the last 20 years, he has been organizing and teaching numerous training courses on diatom ecology and taxonomy designed for biologists, technicians and ecologists, contributing to the continuous improvement in the Water Framework Directive implementation in Europe.

Federico Bolaños

Federico Bolaños is a professor of Herpetology at Escuela de Biología at Universidad de Costa Rica, curator of the Herpetology collection at Museo de Zoología, and a member of the International Union for Conservation and Nature (Amphibian Specialist, Conservation Breeding Specialist and Viper Specialist Groups). His dissertation research focused on the natural history and population ecology of the granular poison frog (Oophaga granulifera) and his primary interest involves behavioral ecology of amphibians. He has participated in various taxonomic studies, describing nine species of amphibians and has dedicated most of his career to amphibian and reptile conservation in Latin America.

Thomas A. Frankovich

Thomas A. Frankovich is a marine ecologist working in coastal marine communities relating water quality to seagrass, macroalgal and diatom communities. His dissertation research was focused on seagrass epiphytes and various controlling factors that determine their nature and abundance. His research interests expanded from this base into investigations of seagrass die-off, underwater light availability and diatom taxonomy. Most recently, he has been conducting research describing unique epizoic diatom communities on manatees and sea turtles.

Michael J. Sullivan

Michael J. Sullivan is a Professor Emeritus of Biology at Mississippi State University. He served as the editor of the international journal Diatom Research for 14 years. His primary research interests include the taxonomy and ecology of marine benthic diatoms. Other research areas include the primary productivity of benthic diatom assemblages and their trophic importance in salt marshes and seagrass beds using multiple stable isotope analyses. Recently, his primary interest has shifted to a relatively unexplored group of diatoms: those living epizoically on marine mammals and turtles. This unique flora should yield new insights into diatom biology.

Matt P. Ashworth

Matt P. Ashworth is currently a research associate at the University of Texas at Austin. He received his PhD in Plant Biology from the University of Texas, Austin, in 2013. His research interests revolve around investigating the molecular and ecological machinery behind diversification in diatoms, as well as describing the extent of that diversification. His current work has focused on documenting patterns of benthic diatom diversity in tropical and subtropical habitats where diatoms have been less well studied historically, and because he no longer fits into his 7-mm wetsuit.

Bart Van de Vijver

Bart Van de Vijver is a full-time researcher at the Botanic Garden Meise, Belgium, and a part-time professor at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. His research focuses mainly on the taxonomy, morphology and biogeography of Antarctic freshwater and terrestrial diatoms. Recently, he started working on the taxonomy and composition of epibiotic diatom communities living on marine turtles and whales.


Received: 2016-10-17

Accepted: 2017-03-31

Published Online: 2017-05-16

Published in Print: 2017-05-24


Citation Information: Botanica Marina, Volume 60, Issue 3, Pages 303–318, ISSN (Online) 1437-4323, ISSN (Print) 0006-8055, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bot-2016-0114.

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PLOS ONE, 2018, Volume 13, Number 4, Page e0195770

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