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With the routine use of electron microscopy it has now become possible to obtain a detailed knowledge of the global distribution of silica-scaled chrysophytes. After the original opinion that they were restricted to cool temperate and subarctic environments has been abandoned, it is now clear that as a group they occur in all climates. Of the altogether 250 taxa, 19 taxa are definitely cosmopolitan, and further 34 taxa are widely distibuted. In addition, many more very small and insufficiently known species might belong in these groups. Others have specific distributions depending on suitable environment and on dispersal possibilities. The importance of investigation intensity and of available specialists for reaching correct conclusions is emphasized. Correct identifications are indeed necessary, but the species concept is inconsistent and purely morphological, and the use of molecular techniques in chrysophyte taxonomy and biogeography is only in its beginning.
Systematics and Geography of Plants © 2000 Botanic Garden Meise