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J Phycol. 2019 Dec 18. doi: 10.1111/jpy.12956. [Epub ahead of print]

Lobophora (Dictyotales) species richness, ecology and biogeography across the north-eastern atlantic archipelagos and description of two new species.

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Phycology Research Group and Center for Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281 (S8), B-9000, Ghent, Belgium.
Centro de Ciências do Mar (CCMAR), Universidade do Algarve, Gambelas, 8005-139, Faro, Portugal.
MARE-Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Quinta do Lorde Marina, Sítio da Piedade, 9200-044, Caniçal, Madeira Island, Portugal.
GBA-cE3c, Azorean Biodiversity Group-Centre for Ecology, Universidade dos Açores, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Departamento de Biologia, Evolution & Environmental Changes, Rua da Mãe de Deus, 9500-321, Ponta Delgada São Miguel, Açores, Portugal.
Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade de Cabo Verde, Campus do Palmarejo, CP - 279, Praia, Santiago, Cabo Verde.
Marine Biology Station of Funchal, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Madeira, 9000-107, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal.
Interdisciplinary Center of Marine and Environmental Research-CIMAR/CIIMAR, University of Porto, Novo Edificio do Terminal de Cruzeiros do Porto de Leixões, Avenida General Norton de Matos, 4450-208, Matosinhos, Portugal.
Departamento de Botánica, Ecología y Fisiología Vegetal, Universidad de La Laguna, Canary Islands, Spain.


The brown alga Lobophora (Dictyotales, Phaeophyceae) is an important macroalga in the North-eastern Atlantic archipelagos (i.e., Macaronesia). Notably in the Canaries it can dominate benthic assemblages. While the genus has been the subject of several ecological studies in the Canaries, no study has yet been conducted to assess species-level diversity of Lobophora in Macaronesia. We reassessed the diversity of Lobophora in Macaronesia, reporting the presence of seven species (L. canariensis, L. caboverdeana sp. nov., L. dagamae sp. nov., L. delicata, L. dispersa, L. littlerorum and L. schneideri). Lobophora spp. from Macaronesia are morphologically and ecologically distinguishable. In the Canaries, L. schneideri dominates the photophilic assemblages from the intertidal to 20-30 m depth. Lobophora dagamae sp. nov. grows in less illuminated shallow habitats, and replaces L. schneideri from 30 to ~ 80 m. Lobophora canariensis also has a wide vertical distribution, from the intertidal to deep waters, while L. delicata, L. dispersa and L. littlerorum grow in shallow waters. The dominance of species with an upright habit versus prostrate or crustose species may be mediated by the pressure of herbivores. Four species have an amphi-Atlantic distribution: L. littlerorum, L. canariensis, L. delicata and L. schneideri. Lobophora schneideri and L. delicata are furthermore distributed in the Mediterranean Sea. By sampling a pivotal region in the Atlantic, the present study significantly improves our knowledge of Lobophora biogeography in the Atlantic Ocean. Macaronesia constitutes a species-poor region for Lobophora where no diversification events occurred, and a region of overlap between the Greater Caribbean and the Indo-Pacific.


Macaronesia; barcoding; cox3; molecular taxonomy; phylogeny


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