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Molecular Assisted Identification Reveals Hidden Red Algae Diversity from the Burica Peninsula, Pacific Panama

Center for Marine Science, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington, NC 28409, USA
Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnlogía y Escuela de Biología, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José 2060, Costa Rica
Departmento de Botánica, Universidad de Panamá, Panamá 4, Panamá
NCU Herbarium, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3280, USA
Department of Biology, Marine Biology & Environmental Science, Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI 02809, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Rupert Ormond
Diversity 2017, 9(2), 19;
Received: 31 January 2017 / Revised: 23 March 2017 / Accepted: 8 April 2017 / Published: 14 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tropical Marine Biodiversity)


The marine flora of Panama harbors a rich diversity of green, red and brown algae, and despite chronic understudy, it is reported as the second most diverse marine flora along the Pacific Central American coast, with 174 macroalgal species. Extensive new collections and molecular assisted identification (MAI) by an international team of researchers has revealed an even greater diversity for this country. Here, the intertidal and shallow subtidal marine flora of the remote Burica Peninsula is introduced. This area is characterized by an uplifted extensive intertidal flat composed of firm, sedimentary benthos known as mudrock, on which abundant algal communities thrive, even during extended periods of exposure. A collection of nearly 200 brown, green and red macroalgae specimens representing the first marine floristic inventory of this region was made in January 2011, and results of analyses of 45 foliose red algae specimens are presented. DNA sequence data for several loci (rbcL-3P; COI-5P; UPA) have been generated for molecular assisted identification and to guide morphological assessments. Twenty-six species were identified among the specimens including 21 new Pacific Panama records, as well as previously unrealized transisthmian distributions, and two new species, Neorubra parvolacertoides sp. nov. and Grateloupia irregularis sp. nov. View Full-Text
Keywords: COI-5P; DNA barcoding; marine algae; marine floristics; Pacific Panama; rbcL; UPA COI-5P; DNA barcoding; marine algae; marine floristics; Pacific Panama; rbcL; UPA

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Freshwater, D.W.; Idol, J.N.; Parham, S.L.; Fernández-García, C.; León, N.; Gabrielson, P.W.; Wysor, B. Molecular Assisted Identification Reveals Hidden Red Algae Diversity from the Burica Peninsula, Pacific Panama. Diversity 2017, 9, 19.

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