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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 22, 2014

First record of the invasive red alga Polysiphonia morrowii Harvey (Rhodomelaceae, Rhodophyta) on the Patagonian shores of the Southwestern Atlantic

  • María P. Raffo EMAIL logo , Alexandre Geoffroy , Christophe Destombe and Evangelina Schwindt
From the journal Botanica Marina


Seaweed invasions are recognized as one of the major threats to biological diversity and coastal resources. Nevertheless, the number of introduced macroalgae has been underestimated due to the increasing number of cryptic invasions. Polysiphonia morrowii is native to the North Pacific and several cryptic introductions of this species have been reported over the past decade. In this study, we recorded the presence of the invasive P. morrowii in the Southwestern Atlantic (Patagonia Argentina) using a morphological and molecular approach for the identification at species level. Polysiphonia morrowii specimens from Argentina showed no morphological differences from members of invasive populations in France. We found two different haplotypes, suggesting that P. morrowii was probably introduced into this area by multiple introduction events. The increasing number of shipping and aquaculture activities worldwide and the ability of this species to be a successful invader suggest that P. morrowii is likely to be a cosmopolitan invasive species and that further management planning is required for its early detection and control.

Corresponding author: María P. Raffo, Grupo de Ecología en Ambientes Costeros (GEAC), Centro Nacional Patagónico (CENPAT-CONICET), Blvd. Brown 2915, Puerto Madryn (U9120ACD), Argentina, e-mail:

We thank W. Freshwater and A. Bortolus, two anonymous reviewers and Dr. M. Dring (Editor in Chief of Botanica Marina) for their valuable comments, which greatly improved the manuscript, G. Casas for helping us with the field work in Argentina, and M.L. Piriz who previously studied Polysiphonia spp. in Argentina and collaborated with helpful suggestions. This study was partially supported by CONICET (PIP 089 to E. Schwindt), FONCyT-PICT 2008 (#2206 to A. Bortolus and E. Schwindt), and the French Ministry for the Economy, Industry, and Employment and the Brittany Regional Council (Project AQUACTIFS). Special thanks to the Organismo Provincial de Turismo of Chubut Province for allowing us to work in the Peninsula Valdés Natural Protected Area and to Alejandro Carribero and Isaura S.A. to allow the field collection at Las Charas. This study is part of the doctoral thesis of M.P. Raffo at the Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Argentina.


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Received: 2013-6-17
Accepted: 2013-12-20
Published Online: 2014-01-22
Published in Print: 2014-02-01

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston

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