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Helgoland Marine Research

Open Access

Biogeography of the benthic marine algae of the North Atlantic Ocean—an overview

  • G. Robin South1
Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen41:BF02366192


An overview of the biogeography of the benthic marine algae of the North Atlantic Ocean is presented. General and specific distribution patterns are discussed in the light of current knowledge of extant species, and of known events in the evolution of the North Atlantic Ocean. The close relationships between the Arctic, NW and NE Atlantic floras suggest their possible origin as a single flora in the early Oligocene Arctic Ocean, when it was isolated by the Bering Land Bridge and the Greenland-Scotland Ridge. Migration of the flora into the North Atlantic Ocean could have occurred with the subsidence of the Greenland-Scotland Ridge. The present day distribution patterns are the main clue to unravelling the past, and study of vicariant amphi-Atlantic taxa using a variety of experimental techniques will yield the most valuable information in attempts to interpret major biogeographical events in the North Atlantic Ocean.