The marine flora of Panama harbors a rich diversity of green, red and brown algae, and despite chronic understudy, it is reported as the second most diverse marine flora along the Pacific Central American coast, with 174 macroalgal species. Extensive new collections and molecular assisted identification (MAI) by an international team of researchers has revealed an even greater diversity for this country. Here, the intertidal and shallow subtidal marine flora of the remote Burica Peninsula is introduced. This area is characterized by an uplifted extensive intertidal flat composed of firm, sedimentary benthos known as mudrock, on which abundant algal communities thrive, even during extended periods of exposure. A collection of nearly 200 brown, green and red macroalgae specimens representing the first marine floristic inventory of this region was made in January 2011, and results of analyses of 45 foliose red algae specimens are presented. DNA sequence data for several loci (rbcL-3P; COI-5P; UPA) have been generated for molecular assisted identification and to guide morphological assessments. Twenty-six species were identified among the specimens including 21 new Pacific Panama records, as well as previously unrealized transisthmian distributions, and two new species, Neorubra parvolacertoides sp. nov. and Grateloupia irregularis sp. nov.
Freshwater, D., Idol, J., Parham, S., Fernández-García, C., León, N., Gabrielson, P., & Wysor, B. (2017). Molecular assisted identification reveals hidden red algae diversity from the Burica Peninsula, Pacific Panama. Diversity, 9 (2) https://doi.org/10.3390/d9020019