Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 1773–1782 | Cite as

The diversity and phylogeny of the commercially important algal class Eustigmatophyceae, including the new clade Goniochloridales

  • Karen P. Fawley
  • Marek Eliáš
  • Marvin W. Fawley


The Eustigmatophyceae is a class of yellow-green algae allied with the Chrysophyceae and other chlorophyll c possessing stramenopile (heterokont) algae. Some members of the class, especially the marine species of the genus Nannochloropsis, are under intense investigation for their potential for production of biofuels and beneficial fatty acids. The class has generally been thought to comprise a small number of genera and species, and these organisms were considered rare or infrequently encountered. In this study, we examined the phylogeny and diversity of this class by analysis of nuclear 18S rDNA sequence data. Our analysis included sequences from all the named members of the Eustigmatophyceae held in culture collections as well as a number of strains identified in culture collections as Xanthophyceae, new strains with features characteristic of the Eustigmatophyceae, and published data for uncultured DNA clones. The results of these analyses show that the Eustigmatophyceae is far more diverse than generally recognized. Two major lineages are supported in the class, the previously recognized order Eustigmatales and the new clade, Goniochloridales. Additional new lineages were also resolved within each of these major lineages; however, the results of our analyses were considered insufficient for naming these subordinate clades. Several of these lineages comprised only unnamed strains or uncultured DNA clones. Overall, our results indicate that the Eustigmatophyceae is a highly diverse class, with many new species, genera, and families awaiting taxonomic treatment.


Biofuels Eustigmatos Goniochloris Monodopsis Monodus Nannochloropsis Fatty acids Trachydiscus Vischeria 



This work was supported by National Science Foundation grants DEB1248291, DBI 0070387, and MCB0084188 to K.P.F and M.W.F., University of Arkansas at Monticello Faculty Research Grants to K.P.F., grants from the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium to K.P.F., grants from Arkansas INBRE (funded by the National Center for Research Resources (grant number 5P20RR016460-11) and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (grant number 8P20GM103429-11) of the National Institutes of Health) to M.W.F., the grants number P506/10/0705 and 13-33039S from the Czech Science Foundation to M.E. and by project number CZ.1.05/2.1.00/03.0 M.100 (Operational Program Research and Development for Innovations) to M.E. We thank Dr. Larry Bellot, Nikon Instruments, for the assistance with microscopy. We thank two anonymous reviewers for the helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen P. Fawley
    • 1
  • Marek Eliáš
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Marvin W. Fawley
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Mathematical and Natural SciencesUniversity of Arkansas at MonticelloMonticelloUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of OstravaOstravaCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Botany, Faculty of ScienceCharles University in PraguePrague 2Czech Republic
  4. 4.Department of Parasitology, Faculty of ScienceCharles University in PraguePrague 2Czech Republic
  5. 5.Department of Biological SciencesNorth Dakota State UniversityFargoUSA

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