The genus Pikea (Dumontiaceae, Rhodophyta) in England and the North Pacific: Comparative morphological, life history, and molecular studies

Christine Maggs, B.A. Ward

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A Pikea species attributed to Pikea californica Harvey has been established in England since at least 1967. Previously, this species was believed to occur only in Japan and Pacific North America. Comparative morphological studies on field-collected material and cultured isolates from England, California, and Japan and analysis of organellar DNA restriction fragment length polymorphisms, detected using labeled organellar DNA as a non-radioactive probe, showed that English Pikea is conspecific with P. californica from California. Both populations consist of dioecious gametophytes with heteromorphic life histories involving crustose tetrasporophytes; 96% of organellar DNA bands were shared between interoceanic samples. A second dioecious species of Pikea, P. pinnata Setchell In Collins, Holden et Setchell, grows sympatrically with P. californica near San Francisco but can be distinguished by softer texture, more regular branching pattern, and elongate cystocarpic axes. Pikea pinnata and P. californica samples shared 49-50% of organellar DNA bands, consistent with their being distinct species. Herbarium specimens of P. robusta Abbott resemble P. pinnata in some morphological features but axes are much wider; P. robusta may represent a further, strictly subtidal species but fertile material is unknown. Pikea thalli from Japan, previously attributed to P. californica and described here as Pikea yoshizakii sp. nov., are monoecious and show a strikingly different type of life history. After fertilization, gonimoblast filaments grow outward through the cortex and form tetrasporangial nemathecia; released tetraspores develop directly into erect thalli. Tetrasporoblastic life histories are characteristic of certain members of the Phyllophoraceae but were previously unknown in the Dumontiaceae. Japanese P. yoshizakii shared 55 and 56% of organellar DNA bands with P. californica and P. pinnata, respectively phylogenetic analysis indicated equally distant relationships to both species. Pikea yoshizakii or a closely similar species with the same life history occurs in southern California and Mexico.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-193
Number of pages18
JournalJournal Of Phycology
Publication statusPublished - 1996


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