Modern estuarine environments remain underexplored for dinoflagellate cysts, despite a rapidly increasing knowledge of cyst distributions in open marine sediments. A study of modern estuarine sediments in New England has revealed the presence of Islandinium brevispinosum sp. nov., a new organic-walled dinoflagellate cyst that is locally common and probably of heterotrophic affinity. Resistance of this cyst to standard palynological processing indicates its geological preservability, although fossils are not yet known. Previously assigned species of the genus Islandinium are characteristic of polar and subpolar environments today and cold paleoenvironments in the Quaternary. The present record of I. brevispinosum extends the ecological and geographical range of this genus into the warm temperate zone, where I. brevispinosum occupies specific environments with reduced salinities and elevated nutrient levels.
- Atlantic Ocean
- Islandinium brevispinosum
- Modern sediments
- Organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts
- Rhode Island