Pyropia suborbiculata(Bangiales, Rhodophyta): first records from the northeastern Atlantic and Mediterranean of this North Pacific species

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Abstract

Pyropia suborbiculata is a bladed Bangiales that was originally reported from Asia but was also recorded as an introduced species in the Atlantic United States, New Zealand, Canary Islands and Brazil. Here we report for the first time the expansion of its distribution to Europe (northeastern Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts) on the basis of collections from the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal). Comparison of morphological and molecular data of our specimens with those of P. suborbiculata confirmed conspecificity and allowed us to differentiate it from other similar species traditionally reported in this area. The species' extensive distribution in the Iberian Peninsula and identical rbcL sequences obtained from native and introduced strains suggested a recent introduction, probably from the northwestern Pacific, the source of numerous exotic seaweeds introduced to Europe. Although this is the first report in Europe of this taxon, it could have been easily overlooked until now because of its small thalli.

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