A review of recent freshwater dinoflagellate cysts: taxonomy, phylogeny, ecology and palaeocology

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Resting stages (e.g. cysts) play an important role in the life history and ecology of phytoplankton, e.g. the survival, reproduction, genetic recombination, and dispersal of many species. Marine dinoflagellates cysts have been intensively studied by both geologists and biologists, but freshwater cysts have received less attention. There are approximately 350 freshwater dinoflagellate species, and resting cysts have been described for 84 species. We evaluated the descriptions, and we reproduced images for each cyst type. The review highlighted the importance of cyst characters for taxonomy and phylogeny. We suggested that shape, wall ornamentation and possibly the archeopyle and color were important morphological characteristics at the generic level and above. The ecology of freshwater dinoflagellate cysts was reviewed, and the ecological role of cysts was discussed. The potential of freshwater cysts for Quaternary palaeoecological reconstructions was highlighted, revealing that these could serve as useful indicators of temperature, pH and productivity.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology


  • Biecheleria, Ceratium, Gymnodinium, Parvodinium, Peridinium, Tovellia, Woloszynskia
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)612-619
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch