Research Group Phycology

The research group Phycology focuses on evolutionary aspects of diversification of marine macroalgae. We apply a phylogenetic perspective to a variety of questions in evolution and biogeography, using marine algae model systems. Topics range from questions which focus on diversification of specific groups of algae over broad spans of time [macroevolution] to species level studies which aim to elucidate the fine-scale details of sexual reproduction and its impact on speciation [microevolution]. Macroevolutionary studies integrate aspects of geology (plate tectonics, climatic shifts), biogeography and geography (GIS) in a phylogenetic context to answer broad questions related to the success or demise of certain algal groups (e.g. Halimeda, Codium). Microevolutionary questions are limited to brown algae and are aimed at understanding the mechanisms and genetics of sexual reproduction in Dictyota. It requires culturing and crossing several species under controlled conditions to detect reproductive barriers and to integrate these results with genomic data derived from the brown alga Ectocarpus siliculosus to pinpoint certain genes and proteins which are important for successful sexual reproduction and hence diversification. In collaboration with the microbiology department we study the identity and role of prokaryotic endosymbionts in siphonal green algae (Bryopsis). The research section allows you to find out more about our present research, incl. detailed descriptions of the various research projects. The publications section offers an overview and PDF files of our publications. Our herbarium houses large collections of algae several locations. Over time, we have built up a reprint library of taxonomic, phylogenetic and biogeographic phycological literature. It currently contains 25,000 titles and grows on a daily basis. A culture collection of green and brown algae used for our current research on molecular evolution and for educational purposes is housed at our laboratory.


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Contact information

Ghent University, Department of Biology, Research Group Phycology
Krijgslaan 281/S8
9000 Gent
phone: +32 (0)9 264 85 00
fax: +32 (0)9 264 85 99