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Algae > Volume 37(3); 2022 > Article
Algae 2022;37(3): 185-204. doi: https://doi.org/10.4490/algae.2022.37.9.2
Morphological and molecular characterization of the genus Coolia (Dinophyceae) from Bahía de La Paz, southwest Gulf of California
Lourdes Morquecho1,*, Ismael Gárate-Lizárraga2, Haifeng Gu3
1Programa de Planeación Ambiental y Conservación, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste (CIBNOR), Calle IPN #195, Col. Playa Palo de Santa Rita Sur, La Paz, Baja California Sur 23096, Mexico
2Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Centro Interdisciplinario de Ciencias Marinas (CICIMAR-IPN), Avenida Instituto Politécnico Nacional s/n, Col. Playa Palo de Santa Rita, La Paz, Baja California Sur 23096, Mexico
3Department of Marine Biodiversity, Third Institute of Oceanography, Ministry of Natural Resources, Xiamen, Fujian, 361005, China
*Corresponding Author  Lourdes Morquecho, Tel: +52-612-1238490, Fax: +52-612-1238484, 
Email: lamorquecho@cibnor.mx
Received: January 24, 2022;  Accepted: September 2, 2022.  Published online: September 15, 2022.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The genus Coolia A. Meunier 1919 has a global distribution and is a common member of epiphytic dinoflagellate assemblages in neritic ecosystems. Coolia monotis is the type species of the genus and was the only known species for 76 years. Over the past few decades, molecular characterization has unveiled two species complexes that group morphologically very similar species, so their limits are often unclear. To provide new knowledge on the biogeography and species composition of the genus Coolia, 16 strains were isolated from Bahía de La Paz, Gulf of California. The species were identified by applying morphological and molecular approaches. The morphometric characteristics of all isolated Coolia species were consistent with the original taxa descriptions. Phylogenetic analyses (large subunit [LSU] rDNA D1 / D2 and internal transcribed spacer [ITS] 1 / 5.8S / ITS2) revealed a species assemblage comprising Coolia malayensis, C. palmyrensis, C. tropicalis, and the C. cf. canariensis lineage. This is the first report of Coolia palmyrensis and C. cf. canariensis in Mexico and C. tropicalis in the Gulf of California. Our results strengthen the biogeographical understanding of these potentially harmful epiphytic dinoflagellate species.
Key words: Bahía de La Paz; Coolia species; epiphytic dinoflagellates; Gulf of California; ITS1 / 5.8S / ITS2; LSU rDNA; morphology; taxonomy

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