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Morphological and molecular phylogeny of the red algal Laurencia complex for Australia

Start date:
01 Jan 2012
End date:
31 Dec 2016
Dr Yola Metti
Project sponsors:
Australian Biological Resources Study (ABRS)

Project aims

  • Produce a molecular phylogeny of the Australian Laurencia complex taxa.
  • Use the phylogeny to identify diagnostic morphological characters. 
  • Sequence species from their Australian type locations.
  • Clarify cryptic species, and describe new taxa.
  • Produce an Algae of Australia volume.
  • Determine rare species and their locations

Project Summary

This project will completely revise the Laurencia complex (red algae - Rhodophyta, Rhodomelaceae) for Australia, using our knowledge of the NSW flora (16 species) as a starting point.  Of the 61 Australian species recorded, at least 18 have type localities recorded from Australia.  We will collect these, and other taxa, from their type localities to confirm their taxon identities. We will use molecular sequence data to produce phylogenies and determine precisely how many species occur in Australia. This study will culminate in several papers, a volume for the Algae of Australia and identification tools for the Laurencia complex for Australia.

Research Update

This project is in its final year. At the beginning of this project only two genera have been confirmed in Australia.  Thanks to this project we have four, so far; Laurencia, Chondrophycus, Palisada and Coronaphycus. The genus Coronaphycus has been newly described through this project, and can be found in Australia, and the Mediterranean.