Check-list of the Basque coast benthic algae (North of Spain)
Keywords:benthic marine algae, biogeography, Cantabrian Sea, Chlorophyceae, Cyanophyceae, nomenclature, Phaeophyceae, Rhodophyceae, seaweeds, taxonomy
An annotated check-list of the marine benthic flora of the Spanish Basque coast, based on literature records and original data, is presented. According to the present taxonomy, the known list of algae totals 372 taxa (354 species and 18 infraspecific taxa), distributed as follows: 23 Cyanophyta, 221 Rhodophyta, 74 Heterokontophyta and 54 Chlorophyta. In addition, 16 taxa are considered as taxa inquirenda and 8 as taxa excludenda. For each taxon the vertical distribution, abundance estimation, and two first published records are given. Remarks on the most noteworthy features of the flora of the study area are included. The floristic character of Spanish Basque coast flora was compared with nearby regions applying Cheney’s ratio [(Rhodophyta+ Chlorophyta)/Phaeophyta, or (R+C)/P]. The resulting high value (4,09) indicates its warm-water character, which was already noted at the end of the XIX century. From a physionomical point of view, Basque benthic vegetation resembles more closely that of southern regions (S Portugal, Morocco). The warming process of waters off the Basque coast during summer up to 22 ºC is responsible for the absence or very rare occurrence of cold temperate species like large fucoids and kelps, which are common in Galicia and Brittany, and explains the abundance of numerous warm-temperate species as ceramiaceous algae.
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