Unravelling the algae: the past, present, and future of algal systematics, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Unravelling the algae

the past, present, and future of algal systematics, 1st Edition

Edited by Juliet Brodie, Jane Lewis

CRC Press

402 pages | 8 Color Illus. | 103 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780849379895
pub: 2007-11-26
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pub: 2007-11-26
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Acting as titans in global control of the biosphere and colonizing virtually all corners of the earth, algae, extremely diverse and numerous oxygenic, photosynthetic organisms, can be major players in and drivers of environmental change. For hundreds of years, since their evolutionary origins by endosymbiosis, when a protozoan enslaved a cyanobacterium, fascinated scientists strove to uncover the mysteries of their diversity, interactions, taxonomy, and classification. Today, new molecular tools and technologies like chromatography and genetic fingerprinting reveal the innermost secrets of algal ancestry and phylogeny and open new possibilities to answering age-old questions.

Unravelling the algae: the past, present, and future of algal systematics brings together the most respected minds in the field to review the state-of-the-science and assess the impact of molecular tools on the taxonomy of algal groups. Emphasizing that a range of traditional and molecular approaches are required, along with other techniques such as transmission electron microscopy, to support full interpretation of the data, the book discusses the extent to which these tools broaden our understanding of the immense diversity of algae and revolutionize ideas of taxonomy and classification. Divided into three parts, the book introduces the very latest ideas on the evolution of algae and the concept of classification and illustrates contrasting viewpoints. The second section addresses systematics and covers virtually all algal groups ranging from microalgae to ultraplankton with individual chapters devoted to each. The final section explores the impact of genomics on algal systematics and concludes with a discussion of future directions for research.

As the most up-to-date, authoritative source for classifying algae, this bookprovides unparalleled access to the encyclopedic information revealed by the use of the latest in molecular tools.


"… a remarkable marshalling of resources to support the authors’ views. This is an outstanding book that very accurately mirrors the current state of affairs and the struggle between the anatomy and morphology group and the electron microscopists, the molecular/genomic group of phycologists. It is an excellent guide to what needs to be done in the near future to bring these two divergent groups together. Highly recommended."

– J. Dawson, Pittsburg State University in CHOICE, Vol. 45, No. 11, 2008

"For those of us who want to understand the developments in algal systematic, and to get an overview of the changes that have been taking place, this book is a necessity and a treasure . . . gives the reader a very good overview of problems in systematic relationships in many algal groups . . . well provided with many good and illustrative figures . . . well structured . . ."

– Kjersti Sjøtun¸ Department of Biology, University of Bergen, in Marine Biology Research, March 2009, Vol. 5, No. 2

Table of Contents




Introduction, J. Brodie and J. Lewis

Algae in the warp and weave of life: bound by plastids, C.F. Delwiche

Evolution and relationships of algae: major branches of the tree of life, T. Cavalier-Smith

Classification and diatom systematics: the past, the present and the future, D.M. Williams


The taxonomy of cyanobacteria: molecular insights into a difficult problem, P.K. Hayes, N.A. El Semary, and P. Sánchez-Baracaldo

Molecular systematics of red algae: building future structures on firm foundations, C.A. Maggs, H. Verbruggen, and O. De Clerck

Systematics of the green algae: conflict of classic and modern approaches, T. Pröschold and F. Leliaert

In the shadow of giants: systematics of the charophyte green algae, J.D. Hall and C.F. Delwiche

The chlorarachniophytes: evolution and classification, K. Ishida, A. Yabuki, and S. Ota

Molecular systematics of Haptophyta, B. Edvardsen and L.K. Medlin

Decrypting cryptomonads: a challenge for molecular taxonomy, F. Cerino and A. Zingone

On dinoflagellate phylogeny and classification, Ø. Moestrup and N. Daugbjerg

Molecular genetics and the neglected art of diatomics, D.G. Mann and K.M. Evans

Classification of the Phaeophyceae from past to present and current challenges, B. de Reviers, F. Rousseau, and S.G.A. Draisma

Molecular systematics of the Chrysophyceae and Synurophyceae, R.A. Andersen

A decade of euglenoid molecular phylogenetics, R.E. Triemer and M.A. Farmer


The contribution of genomics to the understanding of algal evolution, C. Bowler and A.E. Allen

Algal molecular systematics:  A review of the past and prospects for the future, L.K. Medlin, K. Metfies, U. John, and J.L. Olsen


About the Series

Systematics Association Special Volumes

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Botany
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Evolution
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Biology / Marine Biology