Taxonomic revision of the Peyssonneliales (Rhodophyta): Circumscribing the authentic Peyssonnelia clade and proposing four new genera and seven new species

J Phycol. 2021 Dec;57(6):1749-1767. doi: 10.1111/jpy.13207. Epub 2021 Oct 13.


The Peyssonneliaceae represents the only family in the order Peyssonneliales, a clade of red encrusting algae distributed worldwide, including 136 species in eleven currently accepted genera. Delineation of genera in the Peyssonneliaceae has mostly been based on vegetative characteristics. Previous molecular phylogenies have shown that some traditionally circumscribed genera are not monophyletic and relationships among them are uncertain. We contribute to the knowledge of the evolutionary history of this clade, presenting a robust rbcL phylogeny that provides new insights on the origin and diversification of the Peyssonneliales. Based on a broad dataset and morphological analyses, we propose a revised taxonomic scheme for the Peyssonneliales resolved as monophyletic with well-supported main lineages. Our results show that Peyssonnelia is polyphyletic, and, therefore, we propose three new genera, Agissea, Olokunia, and Rhodowynnea to accommodate species currently assigned to Peyssonnelia, but distantly related to the clade with the type species of the genus. Additionally, barcoding techniques and analyzed criteria for specific delimitation supported the establishment of one new genus, Brasilophycus, and seven new species, from northeastern Brazil: Agissea amadoi, A. densissima, A. taberniforma, A. villatlantica, A. yemonjasagbae, Brasilophycus similis, and B. roseomarginatus. Our integrative taxonomic approach reveals underestimated diversity of Brazilian Peyssonneliales. Investment in broader sampling along the Brazilian coast and other tropical areas may reveal that its marine biodiversity can be expanded, enlightening our knowledge about this ecologically important group of red algae.

Keywords: Brazil; COI-5P; Peyssonneliaceae; rbcL; taxonomy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biodiversity
  • Biological Evolution
  • Brazil
  • Phylogeny
  • Rhodophyta* / genetics