Restructuring of the ‘Macaronesia’ biogeographic unit: a marine multi-taxon biogeographical approach

Freitas, R., Romeiras, M., Silva, L., Cordeiro, R., Madeira, P., González, J.A., Wirtz, P., Falcón, J.M., Brito, A., Floeter, S.R., Afonso, P., Porteiro, P., Vieira-Rodríguez, M.A., Neto, A.I. et al., (2019) Restructuring of the ‘Macaronesia’ biogeographic unit: a marine multi-taxon biogeographical approach. 

Scientific Reports, 9, 15792. DOI:10.1038/s41598-019-51786-6 (IF2019 3,998; Q1 Multidisciplinary Sciences)
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  • Nov, 2019


The Azores, Madeira, Selvagens, Canary Islands and Cabo Verde are commonly united under the term “Macaronesia”. This study investigates the coherency and validity of Macaronesia as a biogeographic unit using six marine groups with very different dispersal abilities: coastal fishes, echinoderms, gastropod molluscs, brachyuran decapod crustaceans, polychaete annelids, and macroalgae. We found no support for the current concept of Macaronesia as a coherent marine biogeographic unit. All marine groups studied suggest the exclusion of Cabo Verde from the remaining Macaronesian archipelagos and thus, Cabo Verde should be given the status of a biogeographic subprovince within the West African Transition province. We propose to redefine the Lusitanian biogeographical province, in which we include four ecoregions: the South European Atlantic Shelf, the Saharan Upwelling, the Azores, and a new ecoregion herein named Webbnesia, which comprises the archipelagos of Madeira, Selvagens and the Canary Islands.