Systematics and Evolution of the Algae: Endocytobiosis and Evolution of the Major Algal Lineages

  • Michael Melkonian
Part of the Progress in Botany/Fortschritte der Botanik book series (BOTANY, volume 57)


Reviewing the progress in the field of systematics and evolution of the algae has become an arduous, almost impossible task. Not only are there more than 500 publications each year in the field, but the field itself is divided: traditional taxonomists/systematists, rapidly becoming an “endangered species”, have increasingly chosen to publish their findings in highly specialized journals or in conference proceedings, rendering these less accessible to the interested botanist. On the other hand, an explosion in the number of molecular phylogenetic studies on algae at all taxonomic levels and the pervasion of this field with complex computational methodology and terminology have led to a growing community of molecular phylogeneticists without formal training in algal taxonomy and systematics, who often inadvertently fail to communicate their results in an intelligible way to the uninitiated. Additionally, there is little cross-talk between the two groups, the result of which is that misunderstandings, distrust, and neglect often prevail. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that in situ and ex situ conservation of algal diversity is not given high priorities in global biodiversity initiatives, thus diminishing the prospect of studying the full range of algal diversity on earth before it vanishes through extinction. Even the latter is not certain, as in many groups of algae (particularly microalgae) there is no continuous record of their occurrence in specific habitats, and thus lists of endangered species do not even exist.


Lateral Gene Transfer Plastid Genome Eukaryotic Alga Phycological Research Complex Plastid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Melkonian
    • 1
  1. 1.Botanisches Institut, Lehrstuhl IUniversität zu KölnKölnGermany

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