Molecular phylogeny of Rotaliida (Foraminifera) based on complete small subunit rDNA sequences

Research areas:
  • Magali Schweizer
  • Jan Pawlowski
  • Tanja-J. Kouwenhoven
  • Jackie Guiard
  • Bert Van der Zwaan
Marine Micropaleontology
233 - 246
The traditional morphology-based classification of Rotaliida was recently challenged by molecular phylogenetic studies based on partial small subunit (SSU) rDNA sequences. These studies revealed some unexpected groupings of rotaliid genera. However, the support for the new clades was rather weak, mainly because of the limited length of the analysed fragment. In order to improve the resolution of the phylogeny of the rotaliids, 26 new complete SSU rDNA sequences have been obtained. Phylogenetic analyses of these data, together with seven sequences obtained previously, confirm with stronger statistical support the presence of three major clades among the Rotaliida. The first clade comprises members of the families Uvigerinidae, Cassidulinidae and Bolivinidae. The second clade includes all analysed Discorbidae, Rosalinidae, Planulinidae, Planorbulinidae, Rotaliidae, Elphidiidae, Nummulitidae and one of the Nonionidae. Finally, the third clade comprises the Cibicididae, Pseudoparreliidae, Oridorsalidae, Stainforthiidae, Buliminidae and part of the Nonionidae. The clades 1 and 3 are strongly supported by analyses of the complete SSU rDNA, while the monophyly of clade 2 is less certain, probably due to the rapid evolutionary rates of some lineages included in this clade. These results clearly contradict the classical separation of rotaliid foraminifera into two orders: Rotaliida and Buliminida. Relatively good agreement has been found between molecular data and the morphological definition of the families for which more than one genus was sequenced. However, larger taxon sampling will be necessary for a better definition of the three major clades