Harmful algal blooms (HABs) have been a longstanding
issue in the coastal waters of the Korean Peninsula.
Many HAB species include planktonic dinoflagellates,
which have been well studied to date. This monograph
regarding benthic dinoflagellates unveils the ubiquitous
distribution of marine benthic dinoflagellates along most
of the world’s coastlines. The worldwide biodiversity of
benthic dinoflagellates had been underestimated prior to
the publication of this book.
We began our benthic research several years ago by isolating
benthic dinoflagellates from beaches and macroalgal
surfaces. The species observed included harmful species
such as Gambierdiscus spp., which is known to result
in ciguatera fish poisoning in tropical seas. This treatise
is a useful resource for Korean researchers that need to
identify and classify HAB species.
Upon having read this book, I realized it would serve as
a bible to help increase the accuracy and power of identification
of Korean benthic dinoflagellates. The description
of this book is both very precise and easy to understand,
providing a comprehensive overview of benthic
dinoflagellates and their survival strategies in benthic
environments. Dinoflagellate diversity is very high, both
in the sand and on macroalgal surfaces.
This work is composed of an introduction and materials
and methods section, as well as information regarding
taxonomy, phylogeny and systematics, biogeography,
ecology, and toxins, all of which outline various aspects
of benthic dinoflagellates.
The introduction in Chapter I
includes the history of dinoflagellate research, morphological
characteristics, detailed morphological diagrams,
and Kofoid’s tabulation of plates, all essential for the
identification of and increased understanding of benthic
Chapter II, the materials and methods, provides a full
information of techniques for sampling, isolating, culturing,
and identifying dinoflagellates. Habitat information
is very useful for the proper selection of sampling sites,
locations where researchers can collect species with consideration
for correctly isolating specimens from substrates,
as well as how to culture them for further studies.
The isolation of benthic species differs notably from that
of planktonic species, in that the species can be separated
from the sand by extraction with melting seawater ice
through a fine filter.
Chapter III provides a taxonomical list as well as a description
of all species in alphabetical order, including
aspects crucial to identification, such as species type,
plate tabulations, descriptions, synonyms, remarks, distribution,
references, transmission electron and scanning
electron micrographs, and drawings of the plates of each
species. In addition to the name of each species, the etymology
of each name provides the meaning of each species
as originally published by the authors. The phylogeny
and systematics of Chapter IV introduces evolutionary relationships,
resulting from molecular sequencing, which
could reveal novel fundamental evolutionary relationships.
This chapter introduces a cutting-edge technique
to resolve genetic differences down to the genus and species
levels using molecular biomarkers. Although the ‘dinotom’,
a dinoflagellate with a symbiotic diatom inside, is
well described in ecology and taxonomy, there are a large
number of unknown species in unexplored habitats such
as the sediments of the deep sea, as well as inside host
This book not only guides us to deepen our knowledge
of well-described species but also aims to elucidate
our knowledge of those that are poorly understood.
Although the biogeographical information in Chapter
V is limited owing to the fact that knowledge of the geographical
distribution of some species is limited, it aptly
explains the expansion of the ranges of some species as
a result of global changes in climate. Based on similarities in distribution patterns, benthic dinoflagellates are divided into four groups–arctic, temperate, subtropical, and tropical species.
Chapter VI characterizes dinoflagellates based on a variety of growth habits and habitat preferences, such as the interstitial spaces of marine sediments (i.e., sand-dwelling), epiphytic growth on the surfaces of macroalgae and seagrass (i.e., phycophilic), growth in tidal pool, and growth on floating detritus and corals, and thoroughly describes the characteristics of the species in the various habitats. The species are grouped in terms of attachment, vertical migration, bloom, spatial distribution, and temporal distribution, all with sufficient examples. Chapter VII explores the toxicity of species responsible for benthic harmful algal blooms (BHABs). One such species, Gambierdiscus spp., the dinoflagellate responsible for ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP), is thoroughly explained. This toxic species and others are listed
326in a table along with toxin name, strain name, studies of toxicity, and references. This information is very useful for research involving HABs.
The size of this book–more akin to a field guide than a traditional, sizeable monographis light, portable, and no larger than a novel. Despite its small size, this compendium of information about benthic dinoflagellates provides a wealth of information and is very convenient for use under any working condition as well as in the field.
In summary, the book is well edited and will be valuable to researchers as well as easily accessible to the interested layperson.
November 6, 2015
Joon-Baek Lee (Algae 2015, 30(4): 325-326)