We describe three new species of the genus Gromia from bathyal and abyssal depths in the Weddell Sea. The new species are characterized by a combination of morphological and molecular criteria. All three species possess a distinct oral capsule and a layer of ‘honeycomb membranes’, which form the inner part of the organic test wall. Both these features are typical of gromiids. Their identification as gromiids is confirmed by analyses of partial small subunit ribosomal DNA (SSU rDNA) gene sequences. Gromia marmorea sp. nov. is a rounded species with a prominent oral capsule and a characteristically mottled appearance. In Gromia melinus sp. nov., the test surface exhibits a polygonal pattern of ridges, with a layer of clay particles coating the surface between the ridges. Gromia winnetoui sp. nov. represents an elongate morphotype in which the organic test is enclosed within an agglutinated case, a feature previously unknown in gromiids. Phylogenetic analysis using the maximum-likelihood method revealed that all three species form distinct clades, reflecting the morphological differences among Weddell Sea species, as well as between deep-water Southern Ocean Gromia and previously described gromiids.
Linnean Society. Zoological Journal, 2009, Vol 157, p. 451-469