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Time Record of Marine Species Formation in the Baltic Sea

Four years ago researchers at the University of Gothenburg and Stockholm University discovered a new species of seaweed in the Baltic Sea. New studies reveal that this species may have formed only 400 years ago, making this seaweed species unique.

In 2005 researchers at the University of Gothenburg and Stockholm University discovered a new species of seaweed. The species, which was named Fucus radicans, evolved from a bladder wrack (Fucus vesiculosus) ancestor from the Baltic Sea.

Detailed studies of Fucus radicans show that, from an evolutionary perspective, it was formed extremely rapidly: the species was formed less than 2,500 years ago, and probably as recently as about 400 years ago. This discovery is one of few examples of extremely rapid species formation. The results also show that new species can also be formed in the relatively young and species-poor Baltic Sea.

"We are now working on understanding how the species was formed. Fucus radicans is very common in the Baltic's Gulf of Bothnia, and we want to understand its significance to the ecosystem," said Ricardo Pereyra, a researcher at the University of Gothenburg's Department of Marine Ecology.

The discovery is being published in an article in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology:

Ricardo Pereyra, Department of Marine Ecology, University of Gothenburg
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Kerstin Johannesson (project leader), Department of Marine Ecology
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University of Gothenburg, Sweden, has about 25,000 full-time students and a staff of 5,200. Its eight faculties offer training in the Creative Arts, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Humanities, Education, Information Technology, Business, Economics and Law, and Health Sciences.

Helena Aaberg | idw
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