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Abstract

The distribution of dinoflagellate cyst assemblages is currently used to reconstruct sea-surface conditions. Assemblages provide information about sea-surface temperature and salinity, sea-ice cover and productivity. However, the endemic or regional character of several species, in addition to morphological variability, questions the ecological affinities of taxa and assemblages from one region to another. So far, the North Pacific Ocean represents one of the least-documented areas relative to the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans. In this paper, we incorporate results from recent studies realized in this region and we discuss some species (Impagidinium japonicum, Impagidinium velorum, a new Pyxidinopsis reticulata morphotype, Dalella chathamensis and some Echinidinium species) that seem to be endemic to the Pacific Ocean. Likewise, the taxon that we identify as Selenopemphix nephroides in the North Atlantic Ocean presents a few morphological dissimilarities in the North Pacific. Do we have to consider it as another morphotype or species? Do we need to take into account its variability? In order to answer these questions and avoid inconsistencies in reference databases and consequently in palaeoceanographical interpretations, it is of primary importance to standardize the identification of ambiguous species and to carry out more taxonomic/phylogenetic studies on dinoflagellate–dinocyst relationships.

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