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Molecular assessment of Ulva (Chlorophyta) diversity in the tropical Western Indian Ocean

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingC3: Conference Abstract

Ulva (Ulvales, Chlorophyta) is a widely distributed genus of multicellular green algae, mainly found in marine and estuarine habitats worldwide, with some species also occurring in freshwater habitats. Our understanding of the diversity of Ulva species worldwide remains limited, particularly when it comes to tropical regions. In this study, we employed a combined approach of morphological and molecular methods to identify 174 herbarium specimens of Ulva (including Enteromorpha) from the tropical Indian Ocean, including Tanzania, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Madagascar, present in the herbarium of Meise Botanic Garden (collection of Eric Coppejans). Ulva diversity was investigated utilized DNA sequence data of three commonly used markers: plastid encoded tufA and rbcL, and the nuclear encoded rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS). Prior to our research, 15 species had been reported from the study area based on morphological characteristics, as documented in AlgaeBase. However, our analyses based on DNA evidence confirmed only two of these species, U. lactuca and U. pulchra. Six species, U. ohnoi, U. chaugulei, U. pennata, U. meridionalis, U. tepida, U. spumosa and U. limnetica are recorded for the first time from the study area. Seven clades could not be associated with species names and possibly represent new species. Our research underscores the importance of herbarium collections as valuable resources for documenting seaweed diversity and conducting phylogenetic research. Our study also emphasizes the importance DNA sequence data in the assessment of Ulva diversity, and indicates there is a substantial amount of yet undiscovered diversity in the tropical Indian Ocean.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAMPEE 7, book of abstracts
Publication date2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event7th Annual Meeting on Plant Ecology and Evolution - Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium
Duration: 14-Nov-202314-Nov-2023
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