Red algal parasites: A synopsis of described species, their hosts, distinguishing characters and areas for continued research
© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston. Red algal parasites are diverse organisms that are unusual due to the fact that many are closely related to their hosts. Parasitism has developed many times within different red algal groups, but the full extent of parasite biodiversity is unknown, as parasites are easily overlooked due to their small size and often low abundance. Additionally, the literature on red algal parasites is dispersed and has not been compiled in over 30 years. Although criteria have been proposed to define what constitutes a red algal parasite, many parasites are poorly described, and the cellular interactions with their host are poorly known. A few studies have demonstrated that parasites transfer organelles to host cells, which can alter the physiology of the host to the benefit of the parasite. Here, we apply a set of defining criteria for parasites to a compiled list of all described red algal parasites. Our results highlight the lack of knowledge of many key parasitic processes including early parasite development, host cell "control", and parasite origin. Until the biology of more parasites is studied, generalisations on the processes of parasitism in red algae may be premature. We hope this synopsis will stimulate research into this fascinating group.
Preferred citationPreuss, M., Nelson, W. A. & Zuccarello, G. C. (2017). Red algal parasites: A synopsis of described species, their hosts, distinguishing characters and areas for continued research. Botanica Marina, 60(1), 13-25. https://doi.org/10.1515/bot-2016-0044
Journal titleBotanica Marina
PublisherWalter de Gruyter GmbH
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biodiversitydevelopmenthost switchingparasitismtaxonomyScience & TechnologyLife Sciences & BiomedicinePlant SciencesMarine & Freshwater BiologySP-NOV RHODOMELACEAECARPOSPOROPHYTE DEVELOPMENTMOLECULAR PHYLOGENYLEACHIELLA-PACIFICALIFE-HISTORYRHODOPHYTAEVOLUTIONGIGARTINALESCERAMIALESGEN.Marine Biology & HydrobiologyEnvironmental SciencesBiological Sciences