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Geographic Patterns of Diversity in Benthic Marine Algae

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Title:Geographic Patterns of Diversity in Benthic Marine Algae
Authors:Silva, Paul C.
Date Issued:Oct 1992
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press
Citation:Silva PC. 1992. Geographic patterns of diversity in benthic marine algae. Pac Sci 46(4): 429-437.
Abstract:Study of the geography of benthic marine algae has traditionally
taken the form of descriptions of floras, analyses of floras in terms of floristic
components, comparison of the flora and vegetation of one area with that of
another area, and delineation of floristic provinces. The concept of genetic
diversity transcends floristic analysis and leads to the recognition of geographic
diversity patterns related to, but not coincidental with, floristic patterns. Unlike
vascular plants, in which the ratio of tropical to nontropical species is 2 : 1,
benthic marine algae reach their peak of species diversity on transitional
warm-cool temperate coasts. Lowest species diversity, as would be expected, is
exhibited by the arctic and antarctic floras. The Mediterranean flora is highly
diverse. In the Atlantic, the cold-water flora is richest in the east, while the
warm-water flora is richest in the west. In the vastly broader Pacific, the
cold-water flora is equally rich on both sides, but again the warm-water flora is
richest in the west. Moreover, many warm-water species extend into the Indian
Ocean. The Pacific is complicated by the presence of a myriad of islands of
various sizes, shapes, structure, ages, and degree of isolation. In the Indian
Ocean, the high species diversity of the floras of Natal and southwestern
Australia is matched by that of India, while intervening equatorial areas are
significantly less rich. Taxonomic diversity is an assessment of the evenness of
distribution of the species of a local flora compared to the regional taxonomic
spectrum. The highest degree of intrageneric morphological diversity is exhibited
by Codium and Caulerpa.
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 46, Number 4, 1992

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