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Algae > Volume 37(3); 2022 > Article
Algae 2022;37(3): 205-211. doi: https://doi.org/10.4490/algae.2022.37.9.11
Splitting blades: why genera need to be more carefully defined; the case for Pyropia (Bangiales, Rhodophyta)
Giuseppe C. Zuccarello1, Xinging Wen2, Gwang Hoon Kim2,*
1School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington 6140, New Zealand
2Department of Biological Sciences, Kongju National University, Gongju 32588, Korea
*Corresponding Author  Gwang Hoon Kim, Tel: +82-41-850-8504, Fax: +82-41-850-8479, 
Email: ghkim@kongju.ac.kr
Received: June 27, 2022;  Accepted: September 11, 2022.  Published online: September 15, 2022.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
ABSTRACT
The trend in naming genera based almost exclusively on molecular data, and not on morphological diagnostic characters, is increasing. In bifurcating phylogenetic trees generic cut-offs are arbitrary, but at the bare minimum nomenclatural changes should be supported by multiple phylogenetic methodologies using appropriate models for all the various gene partitions, strong support with all branch support methods, and should also result in adding to our knowledge of the interrelationships of taxa. We believe that a recent taxonomic treatment of the genus Pyropia (Yang et al. 2020) into several genera is unwarranted. We reanalysed the data presented in the recent article, using additional phylogenetic methods. Our results show that many of the newly established genera are not well supported by all methods, and the new circumscription of the genus Pyropia renders it unsupported. We also tested additional outgroups, which were previously suggested as sister to Pyropia, but this did not substantially change our conclusions. These generic nomenclatural changes of the previously strongly supported genus Pyropia, do not shed light on the evolution of this group and have serious consequences in these commercially important algae, that are also governed by a plethora of regulation and by-laws that now need to be amended. We suggest that the over-splitting of groups based only on poorly produced and modestly supported phylogenies should not be accepted and that the genus Pyropia sensu Sutherland et al. (2011) be restored.
Key words: Bayesian analysis; branch support; delineating genera; maximum-likelihood; nomenclature; phylogenetics; red algae; taxonomy


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