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A molecular assessment of species diversity and generic boundaries in the red algal tribes Polysiphonieae and Streblocladieae (Rhodomelaceae, Rhodophyta) in Canada

posted on 11.10.2018, 13:15 by Amanda M. Savoie, Gary W. Saunders

Sequence data generated during a Canadian barcode survey (COI-5P) of the tribes Polysiphonieae and Streblocladieae, a large and taxonomically challenging group of red algae, revealed significant taxonomic confusion and hidden species diversity. Polysiphonia pacifica Hollenberg, P. paniculata Montagne, P. stricta (Dillwyn) Greville and Vertebrata fucoides (Hudson) Kuntze were all complexes of two or more genetically distinct yet overlooked species. One variety of P. pacifica was elevated to the rank of species as P. determinata (Hollenberg) Savoie & Saunders, stat. nov. Several new additions to the Canadian flora were recorded including P. kapraunii Stuercke & Freshwater and P. morrowii Harvey. Subsequent multi-gene (COI-5P, LSU and rbcL) phylogenetic analyses confirmed that the genus Polysiphonia Greville was polyphyletic, and currently assigned species resolved with many other genera. Polysiphonia sensu stricto was restricted to a group of species that formed a monophyletic lineage with the type, Polysiphonia stricta. Carradoriella P.C.Silva was resurrected based on the South African species Carradoriella virgata (C.Agardh) P.C.Silva. Species previously attributed to Polysiphonia were transferred to Carradoriella, Leptosiphonia and Vertebrata as well as to three new genera described here: Acanthosiphonia gen. nov., based on A. echinata (Harvey) comb. nov.; Eutrichosiphonia gen. nov. for E. confusa (Hollenberg) comb. nov. and E. sabulosia (B.Kim & M.S.Kim) comb. nov.; and Kapraunia gen. nov., which includes K. schneideri (Stuercke & Freshwater) comb. nov. and three additional species.


Parts of this research were completed with support of the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre. This study was supported through funding to GWS from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Canada Research Chair Program, Canada Foundation for Innovation, and New Brunswick Innovation Foundation.