The Cenozoic Gonyaulacacean Dinoflagellate Genera Operculodinium Wall, 1967 and Protoceratium Bergh, 1881 and Their Phylogenetic Relationships
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The palynology of Ocean Drilling Program Site 1007, leeward of the present Bahamas Bank, provides insights into upper Oligocene–lower Pleistocene dinoflagellate cyst associations in the tropical Americas. These associations are reviewed along with the sedimentary paleoenvironment to provide context for a morphological study of the cystdefined dinoflagellate Operculodinium bahamense and its comparison with the thecadefined dinoflagellate Protoceratium reticulatum which produces a cyst assignable to the cyst-defined genus Operculodinium. Detailed reconstructions of the tabulation in both species reveal strong similarities, having a sexiform hyposomal tabulation and L-type or modified L-type ventral organization. Protoceratium reticulatum has dextral torsion of the hypotheca, requiring assignation of the genus to the subfamily Cribroperidinioideae, whereas Operculodinium bahamense has neutral torsion requiring assignation to the subfamily Leptodinioideae. Results either imply polyphyletic origins for the genus Operculodinium or that combinations of ventral organization and torsion cannot always be applied rigidly to subdivide the family Gonyaulacaceae.