Mona Hoppenrath & Tanja Wilke
Dinoflagellates are protists (unicellular eukaryotes) of microscopic size (most 10–100 μm). The taxonomy of dinoflagellates is dealing with morphospecies concepts, the most practical and informative approach describing and distinguishing species in the past as well as today (Hoppenrath 2017). Recent taxonomical publications contain molecular phylogenetic analyses, in many cases supporting species and genus delimitations. The number of living dinoflagellate species is estimated to be 2,000 to 2,500 assigned to approximately 300 genera, of which about 240 species in 63 genera are marine benthic taxa (Hoppenrath et al. 2023).
This key is part (appendix) of the book “Marine benthic dinoflagellates – their relevance for science and society” (Hoppenrath et al. 2023). You will need light and also scanning electron microscopic observations of specimens you want to identify. It will be available online also via the pages of the “Centre of Excellence for Dinophyte Taxonomy” (CEDiT https://www.dinophyta.org/identification-keys/marine-benthic-dinoflagellates/). This work was supported by the Friedrich Wilhelm and Elise Marx-Foundation.
This key includes 61 of the benthic dinoflagellate genera, excluding Glenodinium and Symbiodiniales. Also sensu lato taxa, representing already described species and new, so far undescribed, genera are not included. They were described as Amphidinium, Gymnodinium, Gyrodinium und Thecadinium species. So be aware of the problem that with this key it can happen that you cannot identify a genus for your specimen despite it has been already recognized in the literature. Always check the descriptions in the book as well.
Hoppenrath M., Chomérat N., Horiguchi T., Murray S.A. & Rhodes L. 2023. Marine benthic dinoflagellates- their relevance for science and society. Senckenberg-Buch 88, www.schweizerbart.de/9783510614240