Coastal dunefields maintain pre-Holocene genetic structure in a rocky shore red alga

Kolobe Lucas Mmonwa, Nigel Paul Barker, Christopher David McQuaid, Peter Rodja Teske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Most intertidal algae have limited dispersal potential, and areas that lack hard substratum suitable for attachment are thus expected to isolate regional populations from each other. Here, we used nuclear and mitochondrial genetic data to compare genetic structure in two co-distributed intertidal red algae with different dispersal potential along the South African coastline. Gelidium pristoides is divided into a south-eastern and a south-western evolutionary lineage separated by extensive, continuous sandy shoreline habitat adjacent to coastal dunefields. In contrast, Hypnea spicifera is genetically homogeneous throughout its range. In G. pristoides, the genetic breaks are associated with contemporary coastal dunefields. The age of the divergence event suggests that this may reflect the effect of older dispersal barriers, and that genetic structure was subsequently maintained by the formation of contemporary coastal dunefields.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1542-1553
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Phycology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Rhodophyta
  • coastal dunefields
  • dispersal
  • gametophytes
  • genetic patterns
  • habitat discontinuity
  • phylogeographic patterns
  • tetraspores

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science


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