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
INTRODUCTION AND OPINIONS
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
SYSTEMATICS OF THE ALGAE
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