Observations on the phylogenetic systematics and biogeography of the Solieriaceae (Gigartinales, Rhodophyta) inferred from rbcL sequences and morphological evidence

  • Suzanne Fredericq
  • D. Wilson Freshwater
  • Max H. Hommersand
Conference paper
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 137)


A hypothesis of phylogenetic relationships inferred from analysis of plastid-encoded rbcL sequences is presented for members of the Solieriaceae, an economically important family containing carrageenan-type phycocolloids. Previous studies established that the Solieriaceae sensu lato forms a terminal clade in the Solieriaceae complex, a cluster of families sister to the Gigartinaceae complex (Gigartinaceae and Phyllophoraceae). The family Solieriaceae (including the Areschougiaceae) presently contains about 20 genera that are widely distributed in warm-temperate and tropical waters throughout the world. Molecular rbcL and published morphological evidence are consistent with an Australasian origin for the family and a Tethyan distribution for its tropical representatives from west to east as far as the Pacific coast of North and South America. The austral lineages (Callophycus, Rhab- donia, Areschougia and Erythroclonium) are resolved at the base of the tree. The remaining genera, comprising the tropical and subtropical cluster, form a robust terminal clade (100% bootstrap support). This assemblage can be divided into seven groups, most of which receive strong bootstrap support: (1) Sarconema, (2) a Eucheuma group, (3) an Atlantic Solieria group, (4) an Indo-Pacific Solieria robusta group, (5) a Meristiella/Meristotheca group, (6) Agardhiella and (7) a Sarcodiotheca group that includes ‘Eucheuma’ uncinatum from the Gulf of California. Four clusters of species are recognized in the Eucheuma group that correspond to the sections: Eucheuma, Gelatiformia (= Betaphycus), Anaxiferae, and Cottoniformia (= Kappaphycus) proposed by Maxwell Doty. No decision is reached regarding the taxonomic rank appropriate to the eucheumoid taxa.

Key words

biogeography carrageenan Eucheuma Gigartinales molecular systematics Rhodophyta seaweed Solieriaceae 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne Fredericq
    • 1
  • D. Wilson Freshwater
    • 2
  • Max H. Hommersand
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of Southwestern LouisianaLafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Center for Marine Science ResearchWilmingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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