New branched Porolithon species (Corallinales, Rhodophyta) from the Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea, and Lord Howe Island

Jeong, So Young, Gabrielson, Paul W., Hughey, Jeffery R., Hoey, Andrew S., Cho, Tae Oh, Abdul Wahab, Muhammad A., and Diaz-Pulido, Guillermo (2023) New branched Porolithon species (Corallinales, Rhodophyta) from the Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea, and Lord Howe Island. Journal of Phycology, 59 (6). pp. 1179-1201.

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Porolithon is one of the most ecologically important genera of tropical and subtropical crustose (non-geniculate) coralline algae growing abundantly along the shallow margins of coral reefs and functioning to cement reef frameworks. Thalli of branched, fruticose Porolithon specimens from the Indo-Pacific Ocean traditionally have been called P. gardineri, while massive, columnar forms have been called P. craspedium. Sequence comparisons of the rbcL gene both from type specimens of P. gardineri and P. craspedium and from field-collected specimens demonstrate that neither species is present in east Australia and instead resolve into four unique genetic lineages. Porolithon howensis sp. nov. forms columnar protuberances and loosely attached margins and occurs predominantly at Lord Howe Island; P. lobulatum sp. nov. has fruticose to clavate forms and free margins that are lobed and occurs in the Coral Sea and on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR); P. parvulum sp. nov. has short (<2 cm), unbranched protuberances and attached margins and is restricted to the central and southern GBR; and P. pinnaculum sp. nov. has a mountain-like, columnar morphology and occurs on oceanic Coral Sea reefs. A rbcL gene sequence of the isotype of P. castellum demonstrates it is a different species from other columnar species. In addition to the diagnostic rbcL and psbA marker sequences, the four new species may be distinguished by a combination of features including thallus growth form, margin shape (attached or unattached), and medullary system (coaxial or plumose). Porolithon species, because of their ecological importance and sensitivity to ocean acidification, need urgent documentation of their taxonomic diversity.

Item ID: 80905
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1529-8817
Keywords: crustose coralline algae, morpho-anatomy, non-geniculate coralline algae, phylogeny, Porolithon castellum, Porolithon craspedium, Porolithon gardineri, psbA, rbcL, taxonomy, type specimen sequencing
Copyright Information: © 2023 The Authors. Journal of Phycology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Phycological Society of America. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC grant DP160103071
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2023 22:46
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3108 Plant biology > 310801 Phycology (incl. marine grasses) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180504 Marine biodiversity @ 100%
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