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Two endemic coralline red algae on the northern limits of the latest glaciation

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Two new species of the genus Leptophytum Adey are recognized, endemic to NW Spitsbergen respectively East Novaja Zemlya: L. jenneborgii herein described from sublittoral collections around Vasahalvøya, growing on rocks and thalli of Lithothamnion glaciale, and L. arcticum known from a similar habitat at its type locality (Uddebay, East N. Zemlya). Both species exhibit a foliose and relatively large thallus, up to 10 cm in diameter, which develops several layers in an unattached-superimposed pattern, so that thickness reaches at least 1.5 cm. They differ in conceptacle morphology (convex vs rimmed multiporate roofs), including chamber and pore plate size. Their restricted distribution, on the periphery of the presumed northernmost ice limits during the latest glaciation, indicates that they are glacial survivals. Their characteristic habit sets them apart not only from Arctic congeners, but from Arctic corallines in general, and unites them with distantly related taxa from warmer waters, suggesting that they evolved before the beginning of the cooling period (mid-Tertiary) in the Arctic Ocean.
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Keywords: ALGAL ENDEMISM; ARCTIC BIOGEOGRAPHY; ARCTICUM; JENNEBORGII; LEPTOPHYTUM; MELOBESIOIDEAE; NOVAJA ZEMLYA; RHODOPHYTA; SPITSBERGEN

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Göteborg University, Marine Botany, P.O. BOX 461, 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden

Publication date: 2008-02-01

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