Marine benthic algae of Namibia
Keywords:Namibia, marine algae, morphology and anatomy, distribution, biogeography, taxonomy, check-list
The first comprehensive study of the marine algal flora of Namibia including descriptions and illustrations of most species is presented. The main objective of this work is to report a flora that, until now, has scarcely been studied. The work compiles all the available information on the marine benthic flora of Namibia and provides new data about it composition and biogeography, as well as detailed descriptions and remarks of most of its species. The samples on which this study is based were collected between 1986 and 1989 in the eulittoral and the upper sublittoral zones of the north half of the Namibian coast. According to the present data, the marine benthic flora of Namibia comprises 196 taxa (147 Rhodophyceae, 20 Phaeophyceae, 15 Ulvophyceae, 6 Cladophorophyceae and 8 Bryopsidophyceae), 21 of which has not been recorded from this coasts. This temperate flora is mainly characterized by a low number of species, a low proportion of Phaeophyceae and a high degree of endemism. Concerning the species number, the flora is quite poor due to both the scarce availability of colonizable substratum and the low diversity of habitats. On the other hand, the low proportion of Phaeophyceae is the reason for which the R/P and (R+C)/P ratios take disproportionately high values and so they are not useful in this geographical area. As regards the degree of endemism, the marine benthic flora of Namibia includes quite a high number of taxa endemic to southern Africa (55 taxa; 28.1% of the flora); 25 of these 55 taxa (12.8% of the flora) are endemic to the biogeographic Benguela Marine Province and only Acrosorium cincinnatum is endemic to the Namibian coasts.
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