Systematics of the Peyssonneliaceae (Peyssonneliales), a family of crustose marine red algae.  NSF DEB-0919508

The family Peyssonneliaceae comprises a worldwide group of non-calcified or calcified, crust-forming red algae of great ecological significance, with some species involved in the establishment of rhodoliths.  Of the eight genera currently recognized in the family, Peyssonnelia is widely viewed to contain the largest number of species. 

Our research, done in collaboration with David Krayesky, has revealed many new insights about the distribution, generic and species concepts of members of the family present in the Gulf of Mexico and Panama.  For example, the number of distinct species of Peyssonneliaceae present in the Gulf of Mexico has increased from 6 to 21+ distinct species. Comparative morphology, chloroplast-encoded rbcL and nuclear LSU rDNA sequence data suggest that 

species of Peyssonnelia do not occur in the Gulf of Mexico, and that previously reported Peyssonnelia species for the region actually belong to other genera of the Peyssonneliales.

Furthermore, two newly reported genera for the Gulf of Mexico that are currently placed in the Peyssonneliaceae, namely Polystrata and Metapeyssonneliaare instead nested inside the Rhizophyllidaceae of the Dumontiaceae-complex as inferred from rbcL and LSU rDNA sequence analyses. The Rhizophyllidaceae is a newly reported family for the Gulf of Mexico, with six species occurring in the region. The basis for interpreting morphological evolution in the Dumontiaceae-complex is currently being assessed within a phylogenetic framework.

Video clips below and to the right showcase members of Peyssonneliaceae in the Bocas del Toro area, Caribbean Panama.

dept. biology, university of louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette LA 70504-3601;  tel: 337/482-1291 & 482-5057