African Journal of Marine Science

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Morphological and molecular evidences within Osmundea (Ceramiales, Rhodophyta) from the Canary Islands, eastern Atlantic Ocean

M Machín-Sánchez, J Díaz-Larrea, MT Fujii, A Sentíes, V Cassano, MC Gil-Rodríguez


The genus Osmundea is a strongly supported monophyletic group within the Laurencia complex and shows a disjunct distribution occurring in the North-East and South-West Pacific, the Indian and Atlantic oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. Its phenotypic plasticity on the Canary Islands may be the result of the high ecological variability partially due to the particular oceanographic characteristics in this region. The combination of molecular analyses based on the comparison of the chloroplast-encoded rbcL sequences and morphological data allowed us to delimit three distinct taxa from the coasts of the Canarian Archipelago: Osmundea pinnatifida, Osmundea truncata and an unidentified species, Osmundea sp. Moreover, the high value of genetic divergence between Osmundea sp. and the rest of the Osmundea species suggests that this taxon should be assigned to a new species within the Osmundea genus. Occurrence of O. hybrida and O. oederi (synonym: O. ramosissima) has not been confirmed. Our results also suggest a possibly questionable record of the taxa O. hybrida and O. oederi on the Canary Islands.

Keywords: Laurencia complex, phylogeny, rbcL, taxonomy

African Journal of Marine Science 2012, 34(1): 27–42
AJOL African Journals Online