The taxonomy of cyanobacteria: molecular insights into a difficult problem

Paul Hayes, N. El-Semary, P. Sanchez-Baracaldo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Cyanobacteria have been classified using features of their morphology and development, but manyphenotypic characters vary as environmental conditions change, and therefore, molecular methods have also been used to describe diversity within this group. The methods used include phylogenetic reconstruction based on one or a few gene sequences, DNA fingerprinting techniques, and analysis of population genetic structures. The application of these methods has revealed previously hidden diversity in morphologically depauperate taxa, such as Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus, and has shown that diversity has been overestimated in character-rich genera such as Nodularia and Microcystis. The need for a taxonomic approach that makes use of both stable phenotypic characters and molecular markers (i.e., a polyphasic approach) is discussed, as is the demonstration of how such an approach has helped to define species boundaries in Nodularia and Anabaena.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnraveling the algae: the past, present and future of algal systematics
EditorsJ. Brodie, J. Lewis
Place of PublicationFlorida
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9780849379895
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Publication series

NameSystematics Association Special Volume
PublisherTaylor & Francis


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