From bi-polar to regional distribution of modern dinoflagellate cysts, an overview of their biogeography

Fabienne Marret, Lee Bradley, Anne de Vernal, William Hardy, So Young Kim, Peta Mudie, Aurélie Penaud, Vera Pospelova, Andrea M. Price, Taoufik Radi, André Rochon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This paper examines the distribution of 91 modern dinoflagellate cyst taxa from 3636 locations across the world's oceans. Patterns of distributions among the taxa included bi-polarity, cosmopolitan, northern versus southern hemispheres, and geographically restricted. Of the 91 taxa, three dominate these 3636 assemblages at the global scale, Brigantedinium species, Operculodinium centrocarpum sensu Wall and Dale 1966 and some species of Spiniferites. Whereas Brigantedinium is a true cosmopolitan taxon, with high abundances in each ocean, Operculodinium centrocarpum sensu Wall and Dale 1966 shows high abundances in polar to temperate regions in the Northern Hemisphere, and in tropical to sub-tropical waters in the Southern Hemisphere. Spiniferites species show highest occurrences in the Southern Hemisphere. This study also highlights three true bi-polar species, Impagidinium pallidum, Islandinium minutum and cyst of Polarella glacialis. Only a few taxa are strictly endemic, either being relics of ancient seas such as the Paratethys (Spiniferites cruciformis) or linked to specific environmental conditions. However, recent studies have shown recent worldwide dispersal of these endemic species possibly due to human activities. Overall, this compilation has highlighted the progress made since the early 1970s on our understanding of these important tracers of environmental conditions but also gaps in our knowledge of their distribution in pelagic regions of the Pacific and Indian Oceans as well as under Arctic sea ice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101753
JournalMarine Micropaleontology
StatePublished - Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program through a postdoctoral scholarship to Andrea Price. So-Young Kim acknowledges support from the project titled ‘Korea-Arctic Ocean Observing System ( 20160245 )’, funded by the MOF .


  • Bi-polar
  • Dinoflagellate cyst
  • Endemism
  • Global
  • Modern distribution

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