Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Marine Botany

Articulated Coralline Systematics

strain experiment

The presence of flexible genicula, which allow this coralline to be pulled taut,  is a unifying characteristic of the articulates.

       The articulates are classified in the division Rhodophyta, the class Florideophyceae, the order Corallinales, and the family Corallinaceae. There are seven coralline subfamilies, three of which--Amphiroidea, Corallinoideae, and Metagoniolithoideae--represent the geniculates. Corallinoideae is by far the most diverse class, containing twelve of the fifteen geniculate genera. Like other red algae, the corallines are a very heterogeneous group. Thus, it is possible that their taxonomic classifications could change as systematists learn more about them.

examples of articulated corallines

Three samples of the Corallionoideae: Corallina (A), Calliarthron (B), and Bossiella (C)--and a member of the Amphiroidea---Lithothrix (D).

       A variety of features have been used in the systematic analysis of the corallines. Characteristics used most often for identification include cell organization within genicula, presence or absence of pit connections, and conceptacle placement. The articulates can often be distinguished from each other by plant thickness, branching organization, and ecological placement. However, environmental factors can often have a strong influence on these features so more detailed structural analysis is usually the most reliable method of identification of the geniculates.   

Evolution  |  Ecology  |  Systematics  |  Mechanics  |  Pigmentation  |  Morphology  |  Reproduction  |  Life HistoryReferences  |  Procedures  Acknowledgements  |  Main   

© 2001 Ian Ehrenreich. All rights reserved.