A molecular evaluation of the Liagoraceae sensu lato (Nemaliales, Rhodophyta) in Bermuda including Liagora nesophila sp. nov. and Yamadaella grassyi sp. nov.

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We have undertaken a comprehensive, molecular-assisted alpha-taxonomic examination of the rhodophyte family Liagoraceae sensu lato, a group that has not previously been targeted for molecular studies in the western Atlantic. Sequence data from three molecular markers indicate that in Bermuda alone there are 10 species in nine different genera. These include the addition of three genera to the flora - Hommersandiophycus, Trichogloeopsis, and Yamadaella. Liagora pectinata, a species with a type locality in Bermuda, is phylogenetically allied with Indo-Pacific species of Hommersandiophycus, and the species historically reported as L. ceranoides for the islands is morphologically and genetically distinct from that taxon, and is herein described as L. nesophila sp. nov. Molecular sequence data have also uncovered the Indo-Pacific L. mannarensis in Bermuda, a long-distance new western Atlantic record. DNA sequences of Trichogloeopsis pedicellata from the type locality (Bahamas) match with local specimens demonstrating its presence in Bermuda. We described Yamadaella grassyi sp. nov. from Bermuda, a species phylogenetically and morphologically distinct from the generitype, Y. caenomyce of the Indo-Pacific. Our data also indicated a single species each of Ganonema, Gloiocallis, Helminthocladia, Titanophycus, and Trichogloea in the flora.

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Journal of Phycology