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Atlantic Origin of the Arctic Biota? Evidence from Phylogenetic and Biogeographical Analysis of the Cheilostome Bryozoan Genus Pseudoflustra
Published: Monday, March 25, 2013
Author: Piotr Kuklinski et al.

by Piotr Kuklinski, Paul D. Taylor, Nina V. Denisenko, Björn Berning

The intricate geological evolution of the Arctic Ocean is paralleled by complexities in the biogeographical and phylogenetical histories of the Arctic biota, including bryozoans. Here we present revised taxonomic descriptions for all known species of the bryozoan genus Pseudoflustra, and use the present-day distributions and phylogenetic relationships between these species to infer the historical biogeography of the genus. Nine species belonging to the genus Pseudoflustra are recognized in the Arctic and North Atlantic. One new species, previously identified as Ichthyaria aviculata, is described as Pseudoflustra radeki sp. nov. Another species, previously assigned to Smittoidea as S. perrieri, is transferred to Pseudoflustra. Biogeographical analysis of Pseudoflustra reveals that species distributions mostly match current patterns pertaining in the North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean. Distributions were probably shaped by recent geological history as present-day current directions in the Arctic Ocean are believed to have been similar for at least the last 120 000 years. Phylogenetic analysis of Pseudoflustra places the five Arctic-North Atlantic species in a clade crownward of a paraphyletic grouping of North Atlantic species. Given that the Arctic Ocean was fully glaciated until 18 000 years, the most likely explanation for this phylogeographical pattern is that species of Pseudoflustra colonized the Arctic relatively recently from North Atlantic sources. However, a fuller understanding of the origin of Pseudoflustra in the Arctic will require molecular and fossil data, neither of which are currently available.