Ecology, Classification and Biogeography of Freshwater Brown Algae
The Phaeophyceae is a large and diverse class of algae, but less than one percent of the species occur in freshwater environments. We are investigating the genetic relationships among these taxa using 18S rDNA SSU and rbcL information. We are currently examining the origin and speciation of freshwater browns, and their likely invasion from marine environments. Some species have clear (recent and ancient) origins in marine environments, yet little is known of the rate of their invasions and ecological or genetic adaptations. Others have no close marine relatives. A combination of biogeographic and molecular studies seems the likely approach to these questions.