Phylogenetic Inferences Reveal a Large Extent of Novel Biodiversity in Chemically Rich Tropical Marine Cyanobacteria

TitlePhylogenetic Inferences Reveal a Large Extent of Novel Biodiversity in Chemically Rich Tropical Marine Cyanobacteria
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsEngene N, Gunasekera SP, Gerwick WH, Paul VJ
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Date Published2013/03
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0099-2240
Accession NumberWOS:000315454500015
Keywordsabsolute stereochemistry; cf. oscillatoria-margaritifera; climate-change; cyclic depsipeptides; discovery; drug; harmful cyanobacteria; lyngbya-majuscula; maximum-likelihood; natural-products; palmyra atoll cyanobacteria

Benthic marine cyanobacteria are known for their prolific biosynthetic capacities to produce structurally diverse secondary metabolites with biomedical application and their ability to form cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms. In an effort to provide taxonomic clarity to better guide future natural product drug discovery investigations and harmful algal bloom monitoring, this study investigated the taxonomy of tropical and subtropical natural product-producing marine cyanobacteria on the basis of their evolutionary relatedness. Our phylogenetic inferences of marine cyanobacterial strains responsible for over 100 bioactive secondary metabolites revealed an uneven taxonomic distribution, with a few groups being responsible for the vast majority of these molecules. Our data also suggest a high degree of novel biodiversity among natural product-producing strains that was previously overlooked by traditional morphology-based taxonomic approaches. This unrecognized biodiversity is primarily due to a lack of proper classification systems since the taxonomy of tropical and subtropical, benthic marine cyanobacteria has only recently been analyzed by phylogenetic methods. This evolutionary study provides a framework for a more robust classification system to better understand the taxonomy of tropical and subtropical marine cyanobacteria and the distribution of natural products in marine cyanobacteria.

Integrated Research Themes: 
Student Publication: