Cremen M.C.M., Huisman J.M., Marcelino V.R. & Verbruggen H. (2016)
Taxonomic revision of Halimeda (Bryopsidales, Chlorophyta) in southwestern Australia
Australian Systematic Botany 29: 41-54


Halimeda J.V.Lamouroux is a green algal genus that is an important component of tropical reefs and lagoons. While the genus does not generally occur outside the tropics, the range of one putatively widespread species, Halimeda cuneata Hering, extends southwards along the west coast of Australia, around Cape Leeuwin and onto the south coast of Western Australia, reaching its eastern limit at the Recherche Archipelago. Previous molecular studies have revealed that H. cuneata worldwide encompasses pseudo-cryptic species diversity, with most of the cryptic entities geographically isolated from others. In Australia, H. cuneata has been the name applied to specimens from the southwest coast, and it is thought to be the only species present in the region. Using a combination of morphological observations and assessment of species boundaries based on a plastid gene (tufA) and a nuclear protein-coding gene (HSP90), we reassessed the diversity of H. cuneata in southwestern Australia. Our results revealed the existence of two species in the region, one of which is identified as H. gigas W.R.Taylor, a species known previously from tropical Australia. In addition, the name H. cuneata (type locality: South Africa) has been misapplied to Australian specimens and we reinstate H. versatilis J.Agardh (type locality: Cape Riche, Western Australia), a name previously listed in synonymy.

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