Taxonomy of the southwestern Atlantic endemic kelp: Laminaria abyssalis and Laminaria brasiliensis (Phaeophyceae, Laminariales) are not different species


  • Communicating editor: G. Zuccarello.



Two endemic species of Laminaria, Laminaria abyssalis Joly & Oliveira Filho and L. brasiliensis Joly & Oliveira Filho, from the tropical southwestern Atlantic coast have been described. The aim of this work was to determine the conspecificity of these species based on morphological and molecular analyses (ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxgenase, large subunit (rbcL), internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (coxI)). We found an overlap between the morphological characters that are considered taxonomically important for distinguishing these two species; these characters included a differing pattern of blade splitting. In the three molecular analyses, the Brazilian Laminaria specimens were grouped into one clade with maximum support. These data support the hypothesis that the individuals analyzed represent only one species, L. abyssalis. The molecular analysis also showed L. abyssalis to be sister group to L. digitata.