According to fellow phycologists, algae expert Stefan Draisma from the Leiden University has turned brown algae phylogeny completely upside down. His research shows that few of the currently assumed relationships between the orders are correct. Furthermore, it transpires that some simple species arose not earlier but later than more complex species.
Brown algae are multicellular algae. Brown pigments mask the green colour of the chlorophyll. Most of the species occur in temperate regions. The plants vary from very small thread-like algae to giants of more than 50 metres in length. These giants, called kelps, grow for example off the Californian coast where they form true underwater forests. In the Netherlands fucoids can form large inter- and sub-tidal monostands on dikes. Under the waterline Fucus serratus and Sargassum muticum grow.
As well as examining the external characteristics of the brown algae, the researchers from Leiden University and the University of Groningen also compared the DNA composition of the various species. Previous studies had also examined the DNA but this was done in a less structured and extensive manner than in the current study.
Michel Philippens | alfa
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