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Algae > Volume 37(2); 2022 > Article
Algae 2022;37(2): 135-147. doi: https://doi.org/10.4490/algae.2022.37.5.29
Phylogeography of the economic seaweeds Chondrus (Gigartinales, Rhodophyta) in the northwest Pacific based on rbcL and COI-5P genes
Mi Yeon Yang, Myung Sook Kim*
Department of Biology and Research Institute for Basic Sciences, Jeju National University, Jeju 63243, Korea
*Corresponding Author  Myung Sook Kim, Tel: +82-64-754-3523, Fax: +82-64-754-3541, 
Email: myungskim@jejunu.ac.kr
Received: September 12, 2021;  Accepted: May 29, 2022.  Published online: June 21, 2022.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The red algal genus Chondrus have long been used as raw materials for carrageenan and dietary fiber in health foods. Despite the importance of genetic information in safeguarding natural seaweed resources, knowledge of the population genetics of Chondrus in the northwest Pacific is limited. In this study, genetic diversity and phylogeographic structure of 45 populations (777 specimens) of Chondrus from Korea, China, and Japan were evaluated based on mitochondrial COI- 5P gene sequences, and phylogenetic relationships were confirmed based on plastid rbcL gene sequences. Molecular analyses assigned the specimens in this study to three Chondrus species: C. nipponicus, C. ocellatus, and C. giganteus; phenotype-based species classification was impossible owing to their high morphological plasticity. We found moderate intraspecific genetic diversity and a shallow phylogeographic structure in both for C. nipponicus and C. ocellatus, and low intraspecific genetic diversity in C. giganteus. Each of the three species exhibited high-level intraspecific gene flow among regions based on the most common haplotypes (CN1 for C. nipponicus, CO1 for C. ocellatus, and CG1 for C. giganteus). Our comprehensive genetic information provides insights into the phylogeographic patterns and intraspecific diversity of the economically important Chondrus species. It also highlights the need to conserve existing natural Chondrus resources through continuous monitoring of genetic diversity and phylogeographic pattern.
Key words: Chondrus; haplotype network; northwest Pacific; phylogeny; phylogeography; taxonomy

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