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Discrimination of the species of the Crassiphycus corneus/C. usneoides complex (Gracilariaceae, Rhodophyta) through geometric morphometric analysis

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The results of the discrimination by geometric morphometry of the species within the Crassiphycus corneus/C. usneoides complex is presented, from the shape of its cortical, subcortical and medullary cells in the apical, medium and basal portions of thallus. Principal component analysis, based on the elliptic Fourier descriptors of cellular outline shapes and NP-MANOVA analysis, show that only the cortical cells in the medium portion were significantly wider in C. corneus than in C. usneoides. The isoperimetric quotients (Q) indicated that these cells were significantly more circular in C. corneus than in C. usneoides. We conclude that the outline analyses efficiently recovered phenotypic differences between the species defined by molecular systematics and considered to be cryptic, so far.
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Appeared or available online: July 16, 2019

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