Systematics of Green Coccoid Algae: the Genus Bracteacoccus

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Karolina Fucikova
L. Lewis Lab

Green algae (Chlorophyta) are a morphologically heterogeneous group that is undergoing considerable revisions at present. Especially in coccoid genera, there have been striking cases of polyphyly, when species originally placed in one genus were shown to belong to up to three different classes. The coccoid chlorophycean genus Bracteacoccus Tereg was until recently considered monophyletic, but with the advent of new molecular data, it no longer appears as such. The goal of my project is to monograph the genus Bracteacoccus. I collect 18S ribosomal DNA sequences (nuclear gene) as well as rbcL sequences (chloroplast, protein-coding gene). Phylogeny obtained from the sequence data can be subsequently used as a starting point for further research: well supported clades can be examined for defining traits. Like other coccoid genera, Bracteacoccus has very simple morphology and therefore few characters to be scored. Transmission electron microscopy may provide one or several taxonomically useful characters, but perhaps other type of traits will need to be found.