Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 587–595 | Cite as

Phylogeny of Betaphycus (Gigartinales, Rhodophyta) as inferred from COI sequences and morphological observations on B. philippinensis

  • Richard V. Dumilag
  • Lawrence M. Liao
  • Arturo O. Lluisma


The phylogeny of the three species that comprise the genus Betaphycus Doty in Silva, Basson and Moe and their phylogenetic relationships with other eucheumatoids are still unresolved. In this study, the utility of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) marker in resolving their relationships was evaluated. Analyses of the COI sequences from Betaphycus philippinensis Doty and Betaphycus speciosus (Sonder) Doty ex Silva specimens collected from their type localities (Sorsogon, Philippines and Western Australia, respectively) revealed that the two species formed a well-supported clade distinct from Eucheuma J. Agardh and Kappaphycus Doty ex Silva. The genotyped specimens of B. philippinensis were observed to exhibit dorsal protuberances, a characteristic which has been regarded as a key diagnostic feature of Betaphycus gelatinus (Esper) Doty ex Silva. This observation raised the possibility that these two taxa are conspecific. In addition, B. philippinensis specimens were also observed to exhibit morphological features that could be used to distinguish the species from other eucheumatoids, such as the location tetrasporangial nemathecium in the thallus and the presence of apical or lateral pit connections in the tetraspores. The species referred to in the literature as “B. gelatinus” (as Eucheuma gelatinae) collected from northwestern Philippines was identified as a species of Eucheuma based on molecular and morphological evidence. The phylogenetic relationships of this species with other related eucheumatoid taxa were also determined.


Betaphycus COI Eucheumatoids Rhodophyta Morphology Phylogeny Taxonomy 



Edna T. Ganzon-Fortes is acknowledged for help with microscopic techniques and granting access to B. philippinensis materials in the Gregorio T. Velasquez Phycological Herbarium, MSI, UP-Diliman. Specimens were generously supplied by Z. M. Agngarayngay (Mariano Marcos State University), J. M. Huisman (Murdoch University), Showe-Mei Lin (National Taiwan Ocean University), G. W. Saunders (University of New Brunswick), and Xuan Hoa Nguyen (Institute of Oceanography, Vietnam). Two anonymous referees who gave invaluable comments on the early draft of the manuscript are also acknowledged. Funding for this research was provided by the Department of Science and Technology, Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development under the Accelerated Science and Technology Human Resource Development Program.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard V. Dumilag
    • 1
  • Lawrence M. Liao
    • 2
  • Arturo O. Lluisma
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Science Institute, College of ScienceUniversity of the Philippines, DilimanQuezon CityPhilippines
  2. 2.Graduate School of Biosphere Science and Faculty of Applied Biological SciencesHiroshima UniversityHigashi-HiroshimaJapan

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