Journal article

Neoproterozoic origin and multiple transitions to macroscopic growth in green seaweeds

Andrea Del Cortona, Christopher J Jackson, Francois Bucchini, Michiel Van Bel, Sofie D'hondt, Pavel Skaloud, Charles F Delwiche, Andrew H Knoll, John A Raven, Heroen Verbruggen, Klaas Vandepoele, Olivier De Clerck, Frederik Leliaert

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | National Academy of Sciences | Published : 2020


The Neoproterozoic Era records the transition from a largely bacterial to a predominantly eukaryotic phototrophic world, creating the foundation for the complex benthic ecosystems that have sustained Metazoa from the Ediacaran Period onward. This study focuses on the evolutionary origins of green seaweeds, which play an important ecological role in the benthos of modern sunlit oceans and likely played a crucial part in the evolution of early animals by structuring benthic habitats and providing novel niches. By applying a phylogenomic approach, we resolve deep relationships of the core Chlorophyta (Ulvophyceae or green seaweeds, and freshwater or terrestrial Chlorophyceae and Trebouxiophycea..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Ghent University

Awarded by European Marine Biological Resource Centre Belgium/Research Foundation -Flanders Project

Awarded by European Union

Awarded by Australian Research Council

Awarded by National Science Foundation

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Diedrik Menzel for providing cultures of Acetabularia acetabulum; Endymion Cooper for generating transcriptomic data of charophyte taxa; and Denis Baurain for his comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. This work was supported by Ghent University (BOF/01J04813) with infrastructure funded by European Marine Biological Resource Centre Belgium/Research Foundation -Flanders Project GOH3817N (to O.D.C.); the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant agreement H2020-MSCA-ITN-2015675752; the Australian Research Council Grant DP150100705 (to H.V.); the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station; and the National Science Foundation GRAToL 10136495 (to C.F.D.). The University of Dundee is a registered Scottish charity, No. 050196.