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Abstract

The study of the ecology and palaeoecology of dinoflagellates and their cysts has made momentous progress since they were first discovered and described. With the help of field studies, their ecological affinities have been established; in parallel, laboratory studies have facilitated progress on the understanding of their life cycle and enabled the theca to be related to their cyst. More recently, molecular analysis has helped to discriminate species with similar morphologies. Such advances have also highlighted new fields of exciting research and led to a better understanding of the ecological significance of this major phytoplankton group: cryptic species, multiple stages in the life cycle, initial conditions for bloom formation and morphological variability under environmental forcing. These topics, among others, are discussed in this note.

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