MUSEO ARGENTINO DE CIENCIAS NATURALES "BERNARDINO RIVADAVIA"
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Latitudinal gradients in macroalgal biodiversity in the Southwest Atlantic between 36 and 55ºS
LIUZZI, M.G.; LÓPEZ GAPPA, J.; PIRIZ, MARÍA L.
Lugar: Dordrecht; Año: 2011 vol. 673 p. 205 - 205
Different groups of marine benthic organisms show contrasting latitudinal patterns of biodiversity. The widely accepted paradigm of increasing biodiversity towards the tropics does not seem to be valid for macroalgal floras of the Southern Hemisphere. We compiled a database summarizing the distributional ranges of macroalgae along the coast of Argentina to test whether biodiversity decreases towards lower latitudes, as in the Pacific coast of South America, and whether breaking points in the geographical distribution can be recognized in one or more areas of the Southwest Atlantic south of 36°S. We found a clear trend of decreasing biodiversity with decreasing latitude. The interpretation of some biodiversity declines is confounded by changes in the intensity of the sampling effort. A 51% reduction in algal species richness between 42 and 41°S coincides with the boundary between the Argentine and Magellanic Zoogeographic Provinces. This sharp breaking point is related to a thermal anomaly caused by long residence times of water masses within San Matías Gulf, suggesting an upper thermal tolerance limit for most Antarctic/sub-Antarctic seaweeds. A further reduction occurs at 3837°S. This breaking point can be explained by the disappearance of suitable hard substrata, since rocky outcrops give place to wide extensions of sandy beaches. The impoverished algal assemblage inhabiting the northern coast of Argentina is mainly related to the reduction or disappearance of the Antarctic/sub-Antarctic floristic component. This area is characterised by a predominance of widely distributed species, Chlorophytes and opportunistic filamentous or foliose algae.