Phylogenetic systematics of octocorals with a taxonomic review of five Bermudian species.

Jaret Peter Bilewitch

Details of book

  • Publisher: /
  • Publish date: 2006 /
  • ISBN-13: 9780494162347 /
  • Format: /
  • Pages: 245 /
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  • Language: eng /
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  • Notes: Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 44-06, page: 2722.Thesis (M.Sc.)--University of Toronto, 2006.Electronic version licensed for access by U. of T. users.ROBARTS MICROTEXT copy on microfiche. /


Despite a long taxonomic history, phylogenetic testing of monophyly within the Alcyonacea has not been attempted until recently. This investigation examines the molecular and morphological variation of five species from Bermuda in addition to previously studied taxa and reconciles their taxonomy with phylogenetic evidence from both morphology and mtDNA.Measured variation of morphological characters is found to exceed past reports. While Plexaura flexuosa and growth forms of Briareum asbestinum are distinguished by this variation, it obscures the delineation of Pseudoplexaura porosa, Pseudopterogorgia americana , and Gorgonia ventalina from congeners.Molecular variation indicates polyphyly in at least three alcyonacean suborders, the holaxonian families Plexauridae and Gorgomidae, and some included genera. Revisions of classification are proposed to reconcile taxonomy and phylogeny and the usefulness of morphological characters in resolving species and genera is demonstrated. The use of phylogenetics in octocoral taxonomy is proposed in order to obtain an objective and relevant classification system.

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