Environmental 18S rRNA gene surveys of microbial eukaryotes have recently revealed the diversity of major parasitic agents in pelagic freshwater systems, consisting primarily of chytrid fungi. To date, only a few studies have reported the presence of chydrids in the marine environment and a limited number of marine chytrids have been properly identified and characterized. Here, we report the isolation and cultivation of a marine chytrid from samples taken during a bloom of the toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium minutum in the Arenys de Mar harbour (Mediterranean Sea, Spain). Cross-infections using cultures and natural phytoplankton communities revealed that this chytrid is only able to infect certain species of dinoflagellates, with a rather wide host range but with a relative preference for Alexandrium species. Phylogenetic analyses showed that it belongs to the order Rhizophydiales, but cannot be included in any of the existing families within this order. Several ultrastructural characters confirmed the placement of this taxon within the Rhizophydiales as well its novelty notably in terms of zoospore structure. This marine chytridial parasitoid is described as a new genus and species, Dinomyces arenysensis, within the Dinomycetaceae fam. nov.
Keywords: Dinomyces arenysensis; Fungi; Rhizophydiales.; chytrid; dinoflagellates; microbial parasitoids.
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