High-throughput sequencing for algal systematics

Mariana C. Oliveira, Sonja I. Repetti, Cintia Iha, Christopher J. Jackson, Pilar Díaz-Tapia, Karoline Magalhães Ferreira Lubiana, Valéria Cassano, Joana F. Costa, Ma Chiela M. Cremen, Vanessa R. Marcelino, Heroen Verbruggen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, the use of molecular data in algal systematics has increased as high-throughput sequencing (HTS) has become more accessible, generating very large datasets at a reasonable cost. In this perspectives paper, our goal is to describe how HTS technologies can advance algal systematics. Following an introduction to some common HTS technologies, we discuss how metabarcoding can accelerate algal species discovery. We show how various HTS methods can be applied to generate datasets for accurate species delimitation, and how HTS can be applied to historical type specimens to assist the nomenclature process. Finally, we discuss how HTS data such as organellar genomes and transcriptomes can be used to construct well-resolved phylogenies, leading to a stable and natural classification of algal groups. We include examples of bioinformatic workflows that may be applied to process data for each purpose, along with common programs used to achieve each step. We also discuss possible strategies and the new skill set that will be required to fully embrace HTS as a part of algal systematics, along with considerations of cost and experimental design. HTS technology has revolutionized many fields in biology, and will certainly do the same in algal systematics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-272
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Phycology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • bioinformatic workflows
  • classification
  • high-throughput sequencing
  • molecular data
  • multiplexing
  • nomenclature
  • species boundaries
  • species discovery
  • systematics

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