Leliaert F., Verbruggen H., Vanormelingen P., Steen F., Lopez-Bautista J.M., Zuccarello G.C. & De Clerck O. (2014)
DNA-based species delimitation in algae
European Journal of Phycology 49: 179-196


There has been a great deal of disagreement with regard to the criteria used to delimit algal species. Recent studies have highlighted problems of species delimitation in algae using conventional data, such as morphology and sexual compatibility. Molecular data are therefore becoming the standard for delimiting algal species and testing traditional species boundaries. The idea that species are metapopulation lineages, along with theoretical progress in phylogenetic and population genetic analyses has led to the development of new methods of species delimitation. We review these recent developments in DNA-based species delimitation methods and discuss how they have and will continue to change our understanding of algal species boundaries. Although single-locus approaches have proven effective for a first rapid and large-scale assessment of species diversity, species delimitation based on single gene trees falls short due to gene tree species tree incongruences. Multispecies coalescent methods, which combine principles from phylogenetics and population genetics, may now be able to account for these confounding factors.

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