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J Phycol. 2017 Aug;53(4):778-789. doi: 10.1111/jpy.12544. Epub 2017 May 30.

A phylogeographic investigation of the kelp genus Laminaria (Laminariales, Phaeophyceae), with emphasis on the South Atlantic Ocean.

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Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Private bag X2, Rogge Bay, 8012, South Africa.
Department of Biological Sciences and Marine Research Institute, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, 7701, South Africa.
School of Plant Biology and Oceans Institute, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, 6009, Australia.


The genus Laminaria has a wide distribution range compared with other kelp genera because it is found in both the North and the South Atlantic, on both sides of the North Pacific, as well as in the Mediterranean. Hypotheses behind this biogeographical pattern have been discussed by several authors but have not yet been fully evaluated with time-calibrated phylogenies. Based on the analysis of four molecular markers (ITS2, rbcL, atp8 and trnWI), our goal was to reassess the Laminaria species diversity in South Africa, assess its relationship with the other species distributed in the South Atlantic and reconstruct the historical biogeography of the genus. Our results confirm the occurrence of a single species, L. pallida, in southern Africa, and its sister relationship with the North Atlantic L. ochroleuca. Both species belonged to a clade containing the other South Atlantic species: L. abyssalis from Brazil, and the Mediterranean L. rodriguezii. Our time-calibrated phylogenies suggest that Laminaria originated in the northern Pacific around 25 mya, followed by at least two migration events through the Bering Strait after its opening (~5.32 mya). Today, the first is represented by L. solidungula in the Arctic, while the second gave rise to the rest of the Atlantic species. The colonization of the North Atlantic was followed by a gradual colonization southward along the west coast of Europe, into the Mediterranean (~2.07 mya) and two recent, but disconnected, migrations (~1.34 and 0.87 mya) across the equator, giving rise to L. abyssalis in Brazil and L. pallida in southern Africa, respectively.


Laminaria ; Laminariaceae; biogeography; kelp forests; phylogeny; time-calibrated phylogeny

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