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Keywords:

  • Biddulphiaceae;
  • diatoms;
  • Eupodiscaceae;
  • phylogeny;
  • SEM

The ocellate and pseudocellate diatoms in the Eupodiscaceae and Biddulphiaceae (respectively) are common inhabitants of the marine littoral (and plankton zone) with a rich fossil history making them important components of marine stratigraphic studies and good candidates for molecular dating work. These diatoms are important for un-derstanding the phylogeny of the diatoms as a whole, as molecular phylogenies have blurred the traditional distinction between the pennate and multipolar non-pennate diatoms. However, the convoluted taxonomic history of these groups has the potential to disrupt both stratigraphic and molecular dating studies. Although efforts have been made to examine frustule morphology of several ocellate and pseudocellate diatoms and develop a morphological scheme to define genera, very little work has been done to determine how these groups are interrelated. In this study, we use nuclear and chloroplast molecular markers to construct a phylogeny of a diverse sampling of Eupodiscaceae and Biddulphiaceae taxa. The ocellus-bearing taxa (Eupodiscaceae) are monophyletic, and thus the ocellus may be a useful character in delimiting the Eupodiscaceae, the Biddulphiaceae are polyphyletic and scattered across a number of lineages of multipolar non-pennate diatoms. Hypothesis testing aimed at assessing the likeliness of several morphology based hypotheses against the molecular data highlights uncertainty in both types of data. We present evidence that there are monophyletic genera within both the Biddulphiaceae and Eupodiscaceae, and recommend the taxa within the Odontella mobilensis/sinensis/regia clade be transferred to a new genus: Trieres Ashworth & Theriot.