ICOP 2017 Prague.  Arrived after long flight on Friday afternoon. Delivered paper on “A new species of folliculinid bearing endosymbiotic dinoflagellates”.

ICOP 2017 PAPER  ID: 61

Preferred topic: Diversity of free-living heterotrophic protists
Preferred form of presentation: Oral

A new species of folliculinid bearing endosymbiotic dinoflagellates

John Stuart Douglas (University of Adelaide South Australia, Adelaide, Australia), David J. Patterson (Sydney University, Sydney, Australia), Ryan O’Handley (University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia), Tracy Ainsworth (James Cook University, Townsville, Australia), Agatha Labrindis (Adelaide Microscopy, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)

A previously undescribed folliculinid has been found in the temperate near shore coastal sea-grass beds of the Gulf Saint Vincent South Australia. It contains endosymbiotic dinoflagellates. Such dinoflagellates are found in coral hydroids, in Foraminifera, radiolaria and heterotrich ciliates. This is the first record of a Symbiodinium-like organism being found in the Folliculinidae. The trophont of the folliculinid contains between 500–600 dinoflagellate cells and 150–300 in its swarmers. Mulisch (1987) suggested that the Folliculinidae evolved from the ancestors of recent Stentoridae (i.e. Stentor). More recent DNA studies propose that Stentor spp. are more closely related to Blepharisma, while it is Maristentor that is closest to folliculinids. Folliculinids are almost exclusively marine, as is Maristentor dinoferus, both tend to cluster and both have pigmented granules in the cortex. The folliculinid was collected from a number of sites and was always attached to Zostera or Amphibolis sea-grass. Collections of sea-grass with the ciliates were placed in dishes of filtered sea water to remove any planktonic dinoflagellates. Two generations of trophonts and swarmers were cultured, all contained symbionts. This paper presents the results of detailed taxonomic and genomic studies of this new species, and explores the phylogenetic connections between folliculinid protists, coral hydroids and endosymbiotic dinoflagellates.

Keywords: Eufolliculina symbiodinia, Symbiodinium, New species of Folliculinidae


In July and August 2017 I will be attending the 15th ICOP Congress in Prague to present my research on folliculinid protists, and to meet with fellow protistologists. Following that I will be visiting the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in the USA. I will be working in the Virginia Edgecomb laboratory and meeting with researchers at WHOI,  to discuss possible collection of folliculinid protists from deep hydrothermal vents.

I will also be visiting The University of Maryland Horn Point Laboratory on the Eastern Shore, the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology in Baltimore, UMCES scientists provide sound advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment and prepare future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century.


ALVIN 2 and I at WHOI in April 2015.