About three-hundred genera are currently recognized in the brown algae (SAR lineage, sub-regnum Stramenopiles or Heterokonta, divisio Ochrophyta, class Phaeophyceae). Since the first morphology-based pre-cladistic classifications, the advent of the concepts and methods of molecular phylogenies has resulted in countless new insights within the field of brown algal supra-generic systematics. Unfortunately, subsequent taxonomic changes have not always been performed; and after over twenty years of brown algal molecular systematics, it has become difficult to assign a given genus to its correct family and order. The aim of this review article is to update the generic and suprageneric classification of the Phaeophyceae, by taking into account the latest insights produced in the field of brown algal molecular systematics, in order to provide a clarified taxonomic framework whose uncertainties would result only either from absence of molecular data or phylogenetic irresolution rather than taxonomic vagueness due to misinterpretation of morphological characters.
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