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Volume 58, Issue 4 (Aug 2015)


DNA barcoding reveals high diversity in the Gelidiales of the Brazilian southeast coast

Cíntia Iha
  • Corresponding author
  • Instituto de Biociências, Departamento de Botânica, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo 05508-090, Brazil
  • Email:
/ Daniela Milstein
  • Departamento de Ciências do Mar, Universidade Federal de São Paulo Campus Baixada Santista, Santos 11030-400, Brazil
/ Silvia Maria P.B. Guimarães
  • Instituto de Botânica, Núcleo de Pesquisa em Ficologia, São Paulo 04301-902, Brazil
/ D. Wilson Freshwater
  • Center for Marine Science, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, NC 28409, USA
/ Mariana Cabral Oliveira
  • Instituto de Biociências, Departamento de Botânica, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo 05508-090, Brazil
Published Online: 2015-07-08 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bot-2014-0069


Morphological identification of species in the order Gelidiales can be difficult and controversial because of phenotypic plasticity, the low numbers of reproductive specimens and poorly defined taxonomic boundaries. A DNA barcoding survey of Brazilian specimens of Gelidiales, employing neighbor-joining and Automatic Barcode Gap Discovery analyses, indicated the presence of 23 statistically robust primary species hypotheses (PSH). In addition to the cytochrome oxidase I gene (COI-5P), the chloroplast universal plastid amplicon (UPA) marker was also sequenced and submitted to the same analyses. Representatives of each COI-5P/UPA PSH were selected for rbcL sequence analysis to further corroborate the occurrence of 23 species and to infer their phylogenetic relationships. These analyses confirmed the identity of six species previously cited for Brazil: Gelidiella acerosa, G. ligulata, Gelidium crinale, G. floridanum, Pterocladiella bartlettii and P. capillacea. Three new reports for Brazil were also detected: Gelidium microdonticum, Pterocladiella beachiae and P. australafricanensis. Fourteen species remain unidentified and require detailed morphological evaluation.

This article offers supplementary material which is provided at the end of the article.

Keywords: COI-5P; DNA barcoding; Gelidiales; molecular markers; rbcL


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About the article

Cíntia Iha

Cíntia Iha is a PhD student fellow at the Universidade de São Paulo. She was awarded a Master’s degree in Botany, with an emphasis in Phycology, by the Universidade de São Paulo for her work on phylogeny and taxonomy using molecular and morphological data of Gelidiales from the Brazilian southeast coast. Her more recent research has focused on phylogenomics of Gracilariales. She is interested in the evolution and diversity of Rhodophyta.

Daniela Milstein

Daniela Milstein is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Department of Marine Sciences (DCMar), Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP), Brazil. She was awarded a Master’s and a PhD degree in Botany from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and a postdoctoral degree from the University of New Brunswick, Canada. Her research interests are molecular systematics, phylogeny and phylogeography of marine macroalgae.

Silvia Maria P.B. Guimarães

Silvia Maria P.B. Guimarães is an Associate Researcher at the Instituto de Botânica, São Paulo, Brazil. She received her Master’s degree and her PhD degree in Botany from the University of São Paulo for her work on the taxonomy of marine algae, mainly Rhodophyta. Presently, she works in the following areas: taxonomy of marine algae, algae of the infralittoral region and algae associated with rhodolith beds.

D. Wilson Freshwater

D. Wilson Freshwater is a researcher at the Center for Marine Science, University of North Carolina at Wilmington. His current research interests include molecular phylogeny and taxonomy of marine algae, application of DNA barcoding approaches in marine floristics, and ecology of marine hard bottom communities.

Mariana Cabral Oliveira

Mariana Cabral Oliveira is an Associate Professor at the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil. She was awarded a PhD in Botany by USP for her work on the molecular phylogeny of Bangiales. Her main expertise is in molecular phylogeny and taxonomy of algae, and in the genomics of algae and bacteria, focusing mainly on red algae. She is interested in the origin, evolution and diversity of Rhodophyta. Presently, she integrates the coordination committee of the Biota-FAPESP program and is the head of the Botany Department at USP.

Corresponding author: Cíntia Iha, Instituto de Biociências, Departamento de Botânica, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo 05508-090, Brazil, e-mail:

Received: 2014-10-23

Accepted: 2015-06-02

Published Online: 2015-07-08

Published in Print: 2015-08-01

Citation Information: Botanica Marina, ISSN (Online) 1437-4323, ISSN (Print) 0006-8055, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bot-2014-0069. Export Citation

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