Xenophyophores (Rhizaria, Foraminifera) from the Eastern Clarion-Clipperton Zone (equatorial Pacific): the Genus Psammina

  • publication
  • 05-10-2018

Gooday AJ, Holzmann M, Goineau A, Kamenskaya O, Melnik VF, Pearce RB, Weber AA, Pawlowski J. Protist. 2018 Dec;169(6):926-957. doi: 10.1016/j.protis.2018.09.003

Xenophyophores are important megafaunal organisms in the abyssal Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ; equatorial Pacific), a region hosting commercially significant deposits of polymetallic nodules. Previous studies assigned those with attached, fan-like tests to Psammina limbata, a species described from the central CCZ based on morphology. Here, we redescribe the holotype of P. limbata and then show that limbata-like morphotypes collected in the eastern CCZ include three genetically distinct species. Psammina aff. limbata is closest morphologically to P. limbata. The others are described as P. microgranulata sp. nov. and P. rotunda sp. nov. These fan-shaped species form a well-supported clade with P. tortilis sp. nov., a morphologically variable species exhibiting features typical of both Psammina and Semipsammina. A second clade containing Psammina sp. 3, and two species questionably assigned to Galatheammina branches at the base of this group. The genus Psammina includes another 9 described species for which there are no genetic data, leaving open the question of whether Psammina as a whole is monophyletic. Our study increases the number of xenophyophore species described from the eastern CCZ from 8 to 11, with a further 25 morphotypes currently undescribed. Many additional species of these giant foraminifera undoubtedly await discovery in abyssal settings.

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