Acting as titans in global control of the biosphere and colonizing virtually all corners of the earth, algae, extremely diverse and numerous oxygenic, photosynthetic organisms, can be major players in and drivers of environmental change. For hundreds of years, since their evolutionary origins by endosymbiosis, when a protozoan enslaved a cyanobacterium, fascinated scientists strove to uncover the mysteries of their diversity, interactions, taxonomy, and classification. Today, new molecular tools and technologies like chromatography and genetic fingerprinting reveal the innermost secrets of algal ancestry and phylogeny and open new possibilities to answering age-old questions. Unravelling the algae: the past, present, and future of algal systematics brings together the most respected minds in the field to review the state-of-the-science and assess the impact of molecular tools on the taxonomy of algal groups. Emphasizing that a range of traditional and molecular approaches are required, along with other techniques such as transmission electron microscopy, to support full interpretation of the data, the book discusses the extent to which these tools broaden our understanding of the immense diversity of algae and revolutionize ideas of taxonomy and classification. Divided into three parts, the book introduces the very latest ideas on the evolution of algae and the concept of classification and illustrates contrasting viewpoints. The second section addresses systematics and covers virtually all algal groups ranging from microalgae to ultraplankton with individual chapters devoted to each. The final section explores the impact of genomics on algal systematics and concludes with a discussion of future directions for research. As the most up-to-date, authoritative source for classifying algae, this bookprovides unparalleled access to the encyclopedic information revealed by the use of the latest in molecular tools.
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