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Diversity of Halimeda (Bryopsidales, Chlorophyta) in New Caledonia: a Combined Morphological and Molecular Study


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Halimeda is a genus of calcified and segmented green macroalgae in the order Bryopsidales. In New Caledonia, the genus is abundant and represents an important part of the reef flora. Previous studies recorded 19 species that were identified using morphological criteria. The aim of this work was to reassess the diversity of the genus in New Caledonia using morpho-anatomical examinations and molecular analyses of the plastid tufA and rbcL genes. Our results suggest the occurrence of 22 species. Three of these are reported for the first time from New Caledonia: Halimeda kanaloana, H. xishaensis, and an entity resembling H. stuposa. DNA analyses revealed that the species H. fragilis exhibits cryptic or pseudocryptic diversity in New Caledonia. We also show less conclusive evidence for cryptic species within H. taenicola