Article provided by Prof. Christine Maggs.
Phycologists Katia Sciuto and Marion Wolf from Venice were interested in comparing the Delesseriaceaen genus Racilingua from England (the type locality) with their samples from the Mediterranean. This was during the first Covid lockdown, when it was impossible to collect the rare subtidal species R. thysanorhizans. Instead, two specimens of R. thysanorhizans were supplied from the personal herbarium of phycologist Annette (Netty) Elizabeth Little, née Twitchin (born 4 November 1948, died 15 July 2002), which her husband David Little donated, after her death, to the British Phycological Society. The two analysed specimens were collected in July 1986 from Duke Rock, Plymouth, England, near the type locality of R. thysanorhizans, and in August 1984 in Pembrokeshire, Wales. DNA was successfully extracted from these and partial rbcL sequences were obtained. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that Mediterranean samples should be recognized as a distinct species, R. mediterranea. David was delighted to hear that these specimens can still be valuable for modern molecular approaches.
This was possible because of the way Netty worked in south-west Britain and elsewhere. When employed by the Oil Pollution Research Unit (Pembroke) in the team led by Keith Hiscock, and on private excursions, she made collections of all the seaweeds at each site. She laid them out together, when fresh, on a sheet of paper with the site and date and her provisional identifications, and pressed the sheets to dry (see the images below). Some specimens were re-examined later, and more accurate identifications added. They made a wonderful record of what was growing at the sites in the 1970s and 1980s, and some of the name changes (see Figures, one from Milford Haven including R. thysanorhizans.
In the images provided by Prof Christine Maggs below, you will see the hole (the Taylor and Francis logo peeking through) from where a Radicilingua was removed for molecular analyses!
Merging the cryptic genera Radicilingua and Calonitophyllum (Delesseriaceae, Rhodophyta): molecular phylogeny and taxonomic revision. Marion A. Wolf, Katia Sciuto, Christine A. Maggs, Antonella Petrocelli, Ester Cecere, Alessandro Buosi, Adriano Sfriso. Algae 2021, epub ahead of print.