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Distribution, morphology, and phylogeny of klebsormidium (klebsormidiales, charophyceae) in urban environments in europe

Rindi, Fabio, Guiry, Michael D., López-Bautista, Juan M.
Journal of phycology 2008 v.44 no.6 pp. 1529-1540
Charophyceae, Klebsormidiales, Klebsormidium, cities, freshwater, genes, genetic variation, green belt (land management), habitats, phylogeny, ribulose-bisphosphate carboxylase, species diversity, urban areas, Europe
Klebsormidium is a cosmopolitan genus of green algae, widespread in terrestrial and freshwater habitats. The classification of Klebsormidium is entirely based on morphological characters, and very little is understood about its phylogeny at the species level. We investigated the diversity and phylogenetic relationships of Klebsormidium in urban habitats in Europe by a combination of approaches including examination of field-collected material, culture experiments conducted in many different combinations of factors, and phylogenetic analyses of the rbcL gene. Klebsormidium in European cities mainly occurs at the base of old walls, where it may produce green belts up to several meters in extent. Specimens from different cities showed a great morphological uniformity, consisting of long filaments 6-9 μm in width, with thin-walled cylindrical cells and smooth wall, devoid of false branches, H-shaped pieces, and biseriate parts. Conversely, the rbcL phylogeny showed a higher genetic diversity than expected from morphology. The strains were separated in four different clades supported by high bootstrap values and posterior probabilities. In culture, these clades differed in several characters, such as production of a superficial hydro-repellent layer, tendency to break into short fragments, and inducibility of zoosporulation. On the basis of the taxonomic information available in the literature, most strains could not be identified unambiguously at the species level. The rbcL phylogeny showed no correspondence with classification based on morphology and suggested that the identity of many species, in particular the type species K. flaccidum (kütz.) P.C. Silva, Mattox et W. H. Blackw., needs critical reassessment.