Laurencia dendroidea belongs to an economically important red algae group, the Laurencia complex, widely distributed over tropical and temperate regions, that has been subject of several taxonomic reviews. Currently, six genera are recognized within the complex based on morphological and molecular information: Chondrophycus, Laurencia sensu stricto, Laurenciella, Osmundea, Palisada and Yuzurua. Laurencia dendroidea was described for the tropical and subtropical western Atlantic and Macaronesian region, constantly with different epithets, as a result of its accentuated phenotypic plasticity. Therefore, the taxonomic status of L. dendroidea was only possible to be redefined when molecular tools were employed. In this project, high mutational rates molecular markers (e.g. the mitochondrial spacer cox 2-3, the nuclear spacer ITS) of L. dendroidea specimens will be sequenced to elucidate the intraspecific phylogeographic pattern of the group, to investigate gene flow and reproductive isolation between different populations that present significant morphological divergence, and determine the origin of L. dendroidea in Brazil. The present proposal is integrated to the project entitled "Taxonomical, phylogenetic and phylogeographic approach, based on molecular data, of representative marine seaweeds (Bangiophyceae and Florideophyceae) from Brazil", under the coordination of Dr. Mutue Toyota Fujii from Instituto de Botânica, SP, recently submitted to FAPESP (proc. 2012/18427-8), and represents the first Brazilian project to investigate the phylogeography of a marine Rhodophyta.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: