Geographic and Marine Isolation: An Assessment of the Marine Algae of Easter Island

Santelices, B.
Abbott, I.A.
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University of Hawaii Press
The marine flora of Easter Island is one of the least known in the Pacific. Yet it appears as a most attractive flora because of its geographic isolation. This study reports the results of an expedition to the island , providing new records on the marine algal flora, giving the first description of the intertidal and shallow subtidal vegetation, and allowing for a first marine phytogeographic characterization of the island. There is a total of 166 taxa from this relatively small volcanic island to which 66 new records have been added. The marine algal flora of Easter Island appears rich and diverse as compared with that of other similar sized islands in the central Pacific and is monotonously similar in different habitats around the island. It is short and turfy in stature, composed mainly of species with wide geographic distribution in the tropics with a general affinity to the western Pacific. The previously reported 24% endemism of the marine flora is reduced to 14% by the current study, owing to the increased numbers of non-endemic taxa. In its Indo-Pacific relationship, the flora is similar in derivation to those invertebrates that have been studied.
Santelices B, Abbott IA. 1987. Geographic and marine isolation: an assessment of the marine algae of Easter Island. Pac Sci 41: 1-20.
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