Schizymenia jonssonii sp. nov. (Nemastomatales, Rhodophyta): a relict or an introduction into the North Atlantic after the last glacial maximum?

J Phycol. 2020 Apr;56(2):324-333. doi: 10.1111/jpy.12957. Epub 2020 Jan 9.


North-Atlantic records of Schizymenia dubyi extend along the eastern shores of the North Atlantic from Morocco to southern Britain and Ireland, and the species is also recorded from Iceland. A study was undertaken to confirm the identity of the specimens from Iceland that were geographically separate from the main distribution of S. dubyi and in contrast to other species of the genus did not have gland cells. We analyzed rbcL and COI molecular sequence data from Icelandic specimens and compared the results with those for Schizymenia specimens available in GenBank. For both markers, Schizymenia was shown to be a monophyletic genus. The Icelandic specimens were clearly genetically distinct from S. dubyi and formed a well-supported clade with Schizymenia species from the Northern Pacific. Based on these results, we have described a new species, Schizymenia jonssonii, which can be distinguished by molecular phylogeny, its lack of gland cells and by being strictly intertidal. Crustose tetrasporophytes with identical COI and rbcL sequences were found at the same locations as foliose plants. Schizymenia apoda is reported for the first time in the UK, its identity confirmed by rbcL sequence data. In light of these findings, it is likely that by further molecular analysis of the genus Schizymenia in the north-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, a higher diversity of Schizymenia spp. will be discovered in this region.

Keywords: COI; Schizymenia jonssonii; Iceland; North Atlantic; molecular phylogeny; phenology; rbcL.

MeSH terms

  • Ireland
  • Phylogeny
  • Rhodophyta* / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA

Associated data

  • GENBANK/MN567259
  • GENBANK/MN567252