Speciation in Red Algae: Members of the Ceramiales as Model Organisms

Christine Maggs, Hugh Fletcher, D. Fewer, L. Loade, Frederic Mineur, Mark Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Red algae (Rhodophyta) are an ancient group with unusual morphological, biochemical, and life-history features including a complete absence of flagella. Although the red algae present many opportunities for studying speciation, this has rarely been explicitly addressed. Here, we examine an aspect of paternal gene flow by determining fertilization success of female Neosiphonia harveyi (Ceramiales), which retains a morphological record of all successful and unsuccessful female gametes. High fertilization rates were observed except when there were no males at all within the tidepool, or in a submerged marina environment. Small numbers of reproductive males were able to saturate fertilization rates, suggesting that limited availability of sperm may be less significant in red algae than previously thought. In another member of the Ceramiales, Antithamnion, relatively large chromosomes permit karyological identification of polyploids. The Western Pacific species Antithamnion sparsum is closely related to the diploid species Antithamnion defectum, known only from the Eastern Pacific, and appears to have evolved from it. Molecular evidence suggests that A. sparsum is an autopolyploid, and that the European species known as Antithamnion densum is divergent from the A. sparsum/defectum complex.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-504
Number of pages13
JournalIntegrative and Comparative Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Plant Science


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