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Pliocene and Late Pleistocene actinopterygian fishes from Santa Maria Island, Azores (NE Atlantic Ocean): palaeoecological and palaeobiogeographical implications

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 February 2020

Sérgio P. Ávila*
Affiliation:
CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, InBIO Laboratório Associado, Pólo dos Açores, Azores, Portugal Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade dos Açores, 9501-801Ponta Delgada, Açores, Portugal MPB-Marine PalaeoBiogeography working group of the University of the Azores, Rua da Mãe de Deus, 9501-801Ponta Delgada, Açores, Portugal
José M.N. Azevedo
Affiliation:
Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade dos Açores, 9501-801Ponta Delgada, Açores, Portugal Grupo de Biodiversidade dos Açores and cE3c - Centro de Ecologia, Evolução e Alterações Ambientais, Portugal
Patrícia Madeira
Affiliation:
CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, InBIO Laboratório Associado, Pólo dos Açores, Azores, Portugal Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade dos Açores, 9501-801Ponta Delgada, Açores, Portugal MPB-Marine PalaeoBiogeography working group of the University of the Azores, Rua da Mãe de Deus, 9501-801Ponta Delgada, Açores, Portugal
Ricardo Cordeiro
Affiliation:
CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, InBIO Laboratório Associado, Pólo dos Açores, Azores, Portugal Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade dos Açores, 9501-801Ponta Delgada, Açores, Portugal MPB-Marine PalaeoBiogeography working group of the University of the Azores, Rua da Mãe de Deus, 9501-801Ponta Delgada, Açores, Portugal
Carlos S. Melo
Affiliation:
CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, InBIO Laboratório Associado, Pólo dos Açores, Azores, Portugal MPB-Marine PalaeoBiogeography working group of the University of the Azores, Rua da Mãe de Deus, 9501-801Ponta Delgada, Açores, Portugal Departamento de Geologia, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, 1749-016Lisboa, Portugal Instituto Dom Luiz, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, 1746-016Lisboa, Portugal
Lara Baptista
Affiliation:
CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, InBIO Laboratório Associado, Pólo dos Açores, Azores, Portugal Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade dos Açores, 9501-801Ponta Delgada, Açores, Portugal MPB-Marine PalaeoBiogeography working group of the University of the Azores, Rua da Mãe de Deus, 9501-801Ponta Delgada, Açores, Portugal
Paulo Torres
Affiliation:
CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, InBIO Laboratório Associado, Pólo dos Açores, Azores, Portugal Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade dos Açores, 9501-801Ponta Delgada, Açores, Portugal MPB-Marine PalaeoBiogeography working group of the University of the Azores, Rua da Mãe de Deus, 9501-801Ponta Delgada, Açores, Portugal
Markes E. Johnson
Affiliation:
Department of Geosciences, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts01267, USA
Romain Vullo
Affiliation:
University of Rennes, CNRS, Géosciences Rennes, UMR 6118, 35000Rennes, France
*
Author for correspondence: Sérgio P. Ávila, Email: avila@uac.pt

Abstract

Fossil fishes are among the rarest in volcanic oceanic islands, their presence providing invaluable data for the understanding of more general (palaeo)biogeographical patterns and processes. Santa Maria Island (Azores Archipelago) is renowned for its palaeontological heritage, with representatives of several phyla, including the Chordata. We report on the fossil fishes, resulting in an increase in the number of Pliocene fishes from the Azores to 11 taxa: seven Chondrichthyes and at least four Actinopterygii. The genus Sparisoma is reported for the first time in the fossil record. The presence of fossil remains of the parrotfish Sparisoma cretense in Last Interglacial outcrops is significant, because it posits a setback for the theory that most of the present-day Azorean marine species colonized the area after the last glacial episode. Our multidisciplinary approach combines palaeontological data with ecological and published genetic data, offering an alternative interpretation. We suggest that most of the Azorean shallow-water subtropical and temperate marine species living in the archipelago during the Last Interglacial were not affected by the decrease in sea surface temperatures during the last glacial episode. We also predict low genetic diversity for fish species presently living in the Azores and ecologically associated with fine sediments, as a result of the remobilization and sediment transport to abyssal depths, during the Last Glacial episode; these are viewed as post-glacial colonizers or as ‘bottleneck’ survivors from the Last Glaciation.

Type
Original Article
Copyright
© Cambridge University Press 2020

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Pliocene and Late Pleistocene actinopterygian fishes from Santa Maria Island, Azores (NE Atlantic Ocean): palaeoecological and palaeobiogeographical implications
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