Native or introduced? A re-evaluation of <i>Pyropia</i> species (Bangiales, Rhodophyta) from Brazil based on molecular analyses

<div><p>The genus <i>Porphyra sensu lato</i> of the Bangiales has been reported from the Brazilian coast since the 19th century. However, a major worldwide taxonomic revision of the Bangiales indicated that the foliose genus present in Brazil was <i>Pyropia</i> and that <i>Porphyra sensu stricto</i> has not been recorded from this region. A revision of the species of <i>Pyropia</i> in Brazil, based on sequence analysis of molecular markers (<i>rbc</i>L and SSU rDNA) and complemented with morphology, revealed the occurrence of five distinct species in Brazil: <i>P. acanthophora, P. spiralis, P. suborbiculata, P. tanegashimensis</i> and <i>P. vietnamensis.</i> Possible events of <i>Pyropia</i> species introduction in Brazil are discussed in the context of phylogenetic analyses. <i>Pyropia acanthophora</i> and <i>P. spiralis</i>, regarded as southwestern Atlantic species, were not closely related in phylogenetic analyses. <i>Pyropia acanthophora</i> grouped with the possibly introduced Indo-Pacific species <i>P. suborbiculata, P. tanegashimensis</i> and <i>P. vietnamensis</i>. Analysis of available COI-5P and UPA sequences indicated that <i>P. acanthophora</i> occurs in the Hawaiian Islands. These results suggest that <i>P. acanthophora</i>, contrary to previous views, may not be endemic to Brazil. <i>Pyropia spiralis</i>, which is supposedly the only native <i>Pyropia</i> species in Brazil, grouped with species from the Mexican Pacific coast, and its origin along the southwestern Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea is discussed.</p></div>