Molecular phylogeny and taxonomic revision of Chlamydomonas (Chlorophyta). I. Emendation of Chlamydomonas Ehrenberg and Chloromonas Gobi, and description of Oogamochlamys gen. nov and Lobochlamys gen. nov.

Thomas Pröschold, B Marin, U G Schlosser, M Melkonian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

190 Citations (Scopus)


The genus Chlamydomonas (including Chloromonas) is one of the largest green algal genera comprising more than 600 species. To initiate a comprehensive analysis of the phylogeny and systematics of the genus, we determined nuclear-encoded SSU rRNA sequences from 32 strains of Chlamydomonas, Chloromonas and Chlorogonium with emphasis on oogamous taxa and related strains, and incorporated these into global molecular phylogenetic analyses of 132 strains of Chlorophyceae. In addition, we studied the morphology and reproduction of oogamous and related strains by light microscopy. We recognize and designate 18 monophyletic lineages (clades) within the Chlorophyceae, 11 of which are confined to the CW (basal bodies displaced clockwise) subgroup. The majority of clades recognized within the Chlorophyceae do not correspond to any of the traditional classification systems, which are still largely based on the organization level. Strains assigned to Chlamydomonas and Chloromonas were found in seven different clades confirming the polyphyly of the two genera as presently conceived. To initiate the taxonomic revision of Chlamydomonas, C. reinhardtii is proposed as the conserved type of the genus. In consequence, species in clades other than the clade containing C. reinhardtii must be transferred to other genera, a process initiated in this contribution. The oogamous strains studied represent a monophyletic lineage, which is described as Oogamochlamys gen. nov. comprising three species (O. gigantea, O. zimbabwiensis and O. ettlii spec. nov.). The sister clade to Oogamochlamys consists of isogamous strains characterized by chloroplasts with incisions and is described as Lobochlamys gen. nov. with two species (L. culleus and L. segnis). Another clade is characterized by asteroid or perforated, parietal chloroplasts and contains the type species of Chloromonas (C. reticulata). Thus, the polyphyletic Chloromonas (traditionally defined as "Chlamydomonas without pyrenoids") can be legitimized as a monophyletic genus by restriction to this clade and is here emended on the basis of chloroplast characters (the clade contains strains with or without pyrenoids thus rejecting the character "absence of pyrenoids").
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-300
Number of pages36
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001



  • Microbiology

Cite this