chapter  20
Ecobiology and Geographical Distribution of Potentially Toxic Marine Dinoflagellates
WithAristidis Vlamis, Panagiota Katikou
Pages 58

Dinoflagellates are the second-most abundant phytoplankton group following the diatoms. Some toxic dinoflagellates can cause fish kills and mortality of other marine fauna. Apart from marine toxins production, dinoflagellates can affect the full spectrum of living systems from the biochemical to the ecosystem level. Dinoflagellate morphology can be as miscellaneous and complex as of any unicellular eukaryote. The eukaryote motility organelle is the cilium, or "eukaryotic agellum," which consists of a cell membrane-bound extension supported by a microtubular-based axoneme and a basal body or kinetosome with associated cytoskeletal elements serving as anchors. The Noctilucales is an early diverging order containing aberrant dinoflagellates characterized by a highly mobile ventral tentacle, which is missing in typical dinoagellates and other alveolates. Photosynthetic dinoflagellates are common and abundant in pelagic and benthic habitats of both marine and freshwater ecosystems. Heterotrophic dinoflagellates have been known to have various feeding mechanisms and feed on diverse prey.