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Keywords:

  • Bostrychia moritziana, Bostrychia radicans, cox2-3 spacer, hybridization, phylogeography, reproductive isolation, Rhodophyta, RUBISCO spacer, SSCP

Red algae of the Bostrychia radicans/B. moritziana complex are common in warm temperate areas of North America. Phylogenetic analysis of both plastid and mitochondrial DNA sequence data revealed seven distinct evolutionary lineages among worldwide samples. Although only two haplotypes (plastid and mitochondrial) were found in Pacific Mexico, four plastid and 11 mitochondrial haplotypes were found in a similar latitudinal spread along the Atlantic coast of the United States. On the U.S. Atlantic coast only one plastid haplotype was found in northern samples (Connecticut to North Carolina), whereas further south several plastid haplotypes were found. Phylogenetic analyses suggested that this single plastid haplotype found among northern samples could be the result of a northward range expansion possibly since the last glacial maximum. Crossing data of samples within the same evolutionary lineage showed that samples with the same plastid haplotypes were generally sexually compatible; samples with different plastid haplotypes were reproductively isolated. Samples from Pacific Mexico were partially reproductively compatible with some samples from the Atlantic USA (plastid haplotype C) and were more closely related to these samples than these U.S. samples were to other U.S. Atlantic samples. Compatible solute types mirrored the plastid haplotype, with plastid haplotype B having only sorbitol, whereas all other haplotypes also contained dulcitol. Samples from Atlantic USA, with different plastid haplotypes (e.g. B vs. C), but within the same evolutionary lineage, were reproductively isolated from each other. Data indicate that reproductive isolation occurs between and within supported evolutionary lineages and that the number of cryptic species is high.