Variability among clonal cultures of the brown tide algae Aureococcus anophagefferens Hargraves et Sieburth and Aureoumbra lagunensis Stockwell, DeYoe, Hargraves et Johnson was examined by DNA sequence comparisons. Nuclear-encoded 18S rRNA and plastid-encoded rbcL gene sequences were determined for six Aureococcus strains. RUBISCO spacer sequences were determined for 14 strains of Aureococcus. No differences among Aureococcus strains were found in the DNA regions examined. The rbcL and RUBISCO spacer sequences for three Aureoumbra strains were identical but differed from those of Aureococcus. These data indicate that blooms of these species are comprised of cells that are very similar and also imply that Aureococcus and Aureoumbra do not contain varieties or cryptic species. Separate and combined phylogenetic analyses of the 18S rRNA and rbcL gene sequences were performed. Results confirm that the brown-tide-causing algae of Long Island Sound, New York (Aureococcus), and Laguna Madre, Texas (Aureoumbra), are best classified in separate genera within the Pelagophyceae. Phylogenetic trees place Aureococcus and Aureoumbra within the Pelagomonadales and Sarcinochrysidales, respectively.