Toward an inordinate fondness for stars, beetles and Lobophora? Species diversity of the genus Lobophora (Dictyotales, Phaeophyceae) in New Caledonia

Abstract : Until the recent use of molecular markers, species diversity of Lobophora, an ecologically important brown algal genus with a worldwide distribution in temperate and tropical seas, has been critically underestimated. Using a DNA-based taxonomic approach, we re-examined diversity of the genus from New Caledonia in the Southwest Pacific Ocean. First, species were delineated using general mixed Yule coalescent-based and barcoding gap approaches applied to a mitochondrial cox3 data set. Results were subsequently confirmed using chloroplast psbA and rbcL data sets. Species delimitation analyses agreed well across markers and delimitation algorithms, with the barcoding gap approach being slightly more conservative. Analyses of the cox3 data set resulted in 31–39 molecular operational taxonomic units (MOTUs), four of which are previously described species (L. asiatica, L. crassa, L. nigrescens s.l., L. pachyventera). Of the remaining MOTUs for which we obtained a representative number of sequences and results are corroborated across analyses and genes, we described 10 species de novo: L. abaculusa, L. abscondita, L. densa, L. dimorpha, L. gibbera, L. hederacea, L. monticola, L. petila, L. rosacea, and L. undulata. Our study presents an excellent case of how a traditional morphology-based taxonomy fails to provide accurate estimates of algal diversity. Furthermore, the level of Lobophora diversity unveiled from a single locality in the Pacific Ocean raises important questions with respect to the global diversity of the genus, the distributions and range sizes of the individual species, as well as the mechanisms facilitating coexistence.
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Christophe Vieira, Sofie d'Hondt, Olivier de Clerck, Claude E Payri. Toward an inordinate fondness for stars, beetles and Lobophora? Species diversity of the genus Lobophora (Dictyotales, Phaeophyceae) in New Caledonia. Journal of Phycology, Wiley, 2014, 50 (6), pp.1101-1119. ⟨10.1111/jpy.12243⟩. ⟨hal-01102821⟩

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