Present state of the systematics of planktonic coccoid green algae of inland waters

  • Lothar Krienitz
  • Christina Bock
Part of the Developments in Hydrobiology book series (DIHY, volume 221)


This review discusses the main developments in the systematics of coccoid green algae over the last three decades. The relationships of key groups of planktonic coccoid green algae are shown in the phylogenetic trees of Chlorophyceae and Trebouxiophyceae. The trees clearly show that the morphology of these algae do not adequately reflect their phylogenetic position. Different phylogenetic species can be hidden under one and the same morphotype. As most of the genera have a polyphyletic origin, they are in need of a systematic re-evaluation. Species classification using the phylogenetic species concept resulted in the establishment of new genera with smaller numbers of species and the description of new species that are not distinguishable by light microscopy. An overview of genera is given in tables and the revised designations of species as contained in the harmonized taxon list of the European Water Framework Directive lists is provided. In this transitional phase from an artificial to a more natural systematics of algae, field biologists and ecologists as well as molecular biologists must strengthen their interdisciplinary cooperation. The alignment of eco-functional groups of algae with true species identities using the barcoding conception will provide a better understanding of the interaction between organisms and their environment.


Coccoid green algae Chlorophyceae Trebouxiophyceae Systematics Genus and species concept Barcodes Functional groups 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland FisheriesStechlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of General Botany, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany

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