Large miliolid foraminifers bear various types of algal endosymbionts including chlorophytes, dinoflagellates, rhodophytes, and diatoms. Symbiosis plays a key role in the adaptation of large foraminifera to survival and growth in oligotrophic seas. The identity and diversity of foraminiferal symbionts, however, remain largely unknown. In the present work we use ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequences to identify chlorophyte endosymbionts in large miliolid foraminifera of the superfamily Soritacea. Partial 18S and complete Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) rDNA sequences were obtained from symbionts of eight species representing all genera of extant chlorophyte-bearing Soritacea. Phylogenetic analysis of the sequences confirms the previous fine structure-based identification of these endosymbionts as belonging to the genus Chlamydomonas. All foraminiferal symbionts form a monophyletic group closely related to Chlamydomonas noctigama. The group is composed of seven types identified in this study, including one previously morphologically described species, Chlamydomonas hedleyi. Each of these types can be considered as a separate species, based on the comparison of genetic differences observed between other established Chlamydomonas species. Several foraminiferal species share the same symbiont type, but only one species, Archaias angulatus, was found to bear more than one type.
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Vol. 48 • No. 3