Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 931–937 | Cite as

Gracilaria caudata (Gracilariales, Rhodophyta) is reproductively compatible along the whole Brazilian coast

  • Amanda R. Chiaramonte
  • Paulo A. Parra
  • Lígia M. Ayres-Ostrock
  • Estela M. PlastinoEmail author


Gracilaria spp. are economically important for the production of agar. The distribution of ecotypes of Gracilaria caudata all along the Brazilian coast raises questions regarding whether they are undergoing speciation and are possibly reproductively incompatible. Therefore, in the present work, we selected different female and male gametophytes of G. caudata from three populations along an extended Brazilian coastline (from 3° to 23° S) to perform crossing tests and observe possible reproductive barriers. In addition, we tested post-zygotic isolation, by following meiosis, the production of haploids, and the reproduction of haploids, in the progeny of these inter-population crosses. DNA sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene (COI) were used to determine relationships among all gametophytes employed in the crosses and to understand inheritance of mitochondria. The crosses showed interfertility between all populations tested. Neither pre- nor postzygotic isolation was seen in G. caudata from Brazil. Individuals with haplotypes that differ by 1–5 bp (0.15–0.79% divergences) in COI were reproductively compatible. In conclusion, the exchange of genetic material among populations from a wide geographic distribution allows consideration of G. caudata as a biological species.


Crossing test Mitotype Mitochondrial inheritance COI Gracilaria Rhodophyta 



The authors acknowledge Rosário Petti for assistance on cultivation. We thank two anonymous reviewer for valuable comments on the manuscript.

Funding information

This research was supported by grants of the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq 300148/ 93-3, EMP; and 145966/2016-0, ARC) and São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP 2015/14893-2, LMAO).

Supplementary material

10811_2018_1642_Fig3_ESM.png (16 kb)

Map of Brazilian coast showing the localities of sampled populations of G. caudata: Ceará (CE), Espírito Santo (ES), and São Paulo (SP) States. (PNG 15 kb)

10811_2018_1642_MOESM1_ESM.tif (203 kb)
High Resolution Image (TIF 203 kb)
10811_2018_1642_Fig4_ESM.png (35 kb)

Maximum likelihood (ML) trees based on mitochondrial marker COI from distinct populations of Gracilaria caudata along the Brazilian coast. Bootstrap values for 2000 replicates are indicated on branches. Sequences from GenBank are followed by their accession number. New sequences produced in this study for COI are in boldface. Localities of G. caudata sampled: Ceará (CE), Rio Grande do Norte (RN), Pernambuco (PE), Bahia (BA), Espírito Santo (ES), São Paulo (SP), and Santa Catarina (SC) States. (PNG 35 kb)

10811_2018_1642_MOESM2_ESM.tif (3.2 mb)
High Resolution Image (TIF 3262 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Botânica, Instituto de BiociênciasUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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