Phylogenetic relationships in the Sargassaceae were explored using three DNA markers, and the monophyly of its genera was challenged. Nineteen out of 24 currently recognized genera were sampled, representing 63 species. The variable mt23S-tRNA Val intergenic spacer could only be aligned within genera and could not be used to infer intergeneric relationships. The partial mt23S was also useful to delineate genera and was alignable at the family level but provided few informative characters. Analysis of mt23S DNA sequences together with chloroplast- encoded psbA sequences resulted in a better resolved phylogeny. Hormophysa was the first genus to branch off within the Sargassaceae, followed by Myriodesma; then the three genera Caulocystis, Carpoglossum, and Scaberia in unresolved order; and then Acrocarpia. The other taxa studied here were divided over three major clades, but there was no branch support for the monophyly of two of these. The genera Bifurcaria, Cystoseira, Halidrys, and Sargassum appeared polyphyletic. The following taxonomic changes are proposed: a new genus Brassicophycus for Bifurcaria brassicaeformis (Ku ̈tzing) E. S. Barton; reinstatement of the genus Sargassopsis for Sargassum decurrens (R. Brown ex Turner) C. Agardh; reinstate- ment of the genus Sirophysalis for Indo-Pacific Cystoseira trinodis (Forsska ̊l) C. Agardh; reinstatement of the genus Polycladia for the western Indian Ocean species Cystoseira indica (Thivy et Doshi) Mairh, Cystoseira myrica (S. G. Gmelin) C. Agardh, and Acystis heinii Schiffner; and reinstatement of the genus Stephanocystis for the North Pacific Cystoseira species and Halidrys dioica N. L. Gardner. The European Cystoseira species should be split into three genera, but no name changes are proposed yet, because diagnostic characters were found only for the clade including the type species. Some evolution- ary trends could be discerned from the mt23S + psbA phylogeny.
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