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Free Content Evolutionary trends in the seagrass genus Halophila (Thouars): Insights from molecular phylogeny

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Relationships among members of the seagrass genus Halophila (Hydrocharitaceae) were investigated using phylogenetic analysis of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the nuclear ribosomal DNA. The final aligned ITS sequence data set of 705 base pairs from 36 samples in 11 currently recognised species included 18.7% parsimony informative characters. Phylogenetic analysis yielded two most parsimonious trees with strong support for six groups within the genus. Evolutionary trends in Halophila appear to be toward a more reduced simple phyllotaxy. In addition, this study indicates that long distance 'jump' dispersal between major ocean systems may have occurred at least in the globally distributed H. decipiens. Results of ITS analyses also indicate that the wide-spread pacific species H. ovalis is paraphyletic and may contain cryptic species. Likewise, the geographically restricted species H. hawaiiana and H. johnsonii could not be distinguished from H. ovalis with these data and warrant further investigation.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 2002

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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