Maggs C.A., Verbruggen H. & De Clerck O. (2007)
Molecular systematics of red algae: building future structures on firm foundations
In: Brodie J., Lewis J.M. (eds.) Unravelling the algae: the past, present, and future of algal systematics. Taylor and Francis. pp 103-121


Red algal systematics has a solid morphological foundation, based on analyses of female reproductive structures and post-fertilization development by Kylin and other workers. Recognition of the value of pit-plug ultrastructure was a catalyst leading to refinement of the Kylinian ordinal classification. Molecular approaches to systematics have further advanced our understanding of the red algae at every level and led to the proposal of several new orders. Species diversity in particular has traditionally been underestimated due to the presence of cryptic and pseudo-cryptic species. A literature review covering the last two decades shows that relatively few molecular markers have been employed for studies of red algal systematics. The general trend was toward the use of multiple markers until five years ago when an increased emphasis on lower-level taxonomy (molecular identification) led to greater reliance on single markers. In the future, we predict that there will be relatively few new orders proposed, and the emphasis will change to hypothesis-driven, less descriptive molecular studies in concert with morphological, ultrastructural, and biochemical analyses.

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