• 1

    Received 11 June 2007. Accepted 15 October 2007.


The Chlorophyceae (sensu Mattox and Stewart) is a morphologically diverse class of the Chlorophyta displaying biflagellate and quadriflagellate motile cells with varying configurations of the flagellar apparatus. Phylogenetic analyses of 18S rDNA data and combined 18S and 26S rDNA data from a broad range of chlorophycean taxa uncovered five major monophyletic groups (Chlamydomonadales, Sphaeropleales, Oedogoniales, Chaetophorales, and Chaetopeltidales) but could not resolve their branching order. To gain insight into the interrelationships of these groups, we analyzed multiple genes encoded by the chloroplast genomes of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii P. A. Dang. and Chlamydomonas moewusii Gerloff (Chlamydomonadales), Scenedesmus obliquus (Turpin) Kütz. (Sphaeropleales), Oedogonium cardiacum Wittr. (Oedogoniales), Stigeoclonium helveticum Vischer (Chaetophorales), and Floydiella terrestris (Groover et Hofstetter) Friedl et O’Kelly (Chaetopeltidales). The C. moewusii, Oedogonium, and Floydiella chloroplast DNAs were partly sequenced using a random strategy. Trees were reconstructed from nucleotide and amino acid data sets derived from 44 protein-coding genes of 11 chlorophytes and nine streptophytes as well as from 57 protein-coding genes of the six chlorophycean taxa. All best trees identified two robustly supported major lineages within the Chlorophyceae: a clade uniting the Chlamydomonadales and Sphaeropleales, and a clade uniting the Oedogoniales, Chaetophorales, and Chaetopeltidales (OCC clade). This dichotomy is independently supported by molecular signatures in chloroplast genes, such as insertions/deletions and the distribution of trans-spliced group II introns. Within the OCC clade, the sister relationship observed for the Chaetophorales and Chaetopeltidales is also strengthened by independent data. Character state reconstruction of basal body orientation allowed us to refine hypotheses regarding the evolution of the flagellar apparatus.