Comparative DNA sequence analyses of newly collected specimens of rhodolith-forming members of the Corallinophycidae (Rhodophyta), known as crustose coralline algae, from deepwater rhodolith beds offshore Louisiana in the Northwestern Gulf of Mexico and throughout the Gulf of Mexico revealed a wealth of previously undocumented diversity and many species new to science. Rhodlith-forming corallines span multiple lineages, including members of the Corallinales, Hapalidiales, and Sporolithales. Observations performed with scanning electron microscopy revealed the presence of characters congruent with those reported for each respective taxonomic group. Within the Corallinales, members of the Lithophyloideae and the genus Porolithon are represented offshore Louisana. The genus Lithothamnion (Hapalidiales) is polyphyletic and comprises at least 6 species. The order Sporolithales, represented by a species new to science, is reported for the first time offshore Louisiana and offshore Florida. Comparisons to specimens from Panama and Brazil revealed taxa that are closely related to specimens from the Gulf of Mexico. The DNA sequence data and SEM micrographs serve as a foundation that will facilitate continued research on members of the Corallinophycidae.
|Advisor:||Fredericq, Suzanne L.|
|Commitee:||Albert, James, Felder, Darryl L., Gabrielson, Paul W., Norris, James N.|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||DAI-B 78/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Biology, Plant sciences|
|Keywords:||Coralline algae, DNA, Rhodolith, Systematics|
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