A small siliceous species of marine phytoplankton, order Parmales (Heterokonta), was isolated and characterized for the first time with the aid of a fluorescent silicon tracer 2-(4-pyridyl)-5-([4-(2-dimethylaminoethylaminocarbamoyl)-methoxy]phenyl)oxazole (PDMPO). This dye was easily detected by clear fluorescence in newly produced silica cell plates. Our isolate was surrounded by eight smooth plates without any ornamentation, suggesting a similarity to Triparma laevis B. C. Booth. TEM observation showed the typical ultrastructure of photosynthetic heterokontophytes; with two chloroplast endoplasmic reticulate membranes, a girdle lamella, three thylakoid lamellae, and mitochondrion with tubular cristae. Molecular phylogenetic analyses of SSU rDNA and rbcL genes showed that the parmalean alga was within the bolidophycean clade of autotrophic naked flagellates and a sister group of diatoms. HPLC analysis detected chl a, c1 + c2 , and c3 ; fucoxanthin; and diadinoxanthin as major photosynthetic pigments, and a composition that is shared with Bolidophyceae and diatoms. Together, these data indicate a close evolutionary relationship between Parmales, Bolidophyceae, and diatoms. The PDMPO-staining procedure should accelerate isolation of other Parmales species, helping to establish their diversity and aiding quantitative study of their role in oceanic processes.
Keywords: Bolidophyceae; PDMPO; Parmales; Triparma laevis; diatoms; heterokonts; phylogeny; stramenopiles.
© 2010 Phycological Society of America.