Bryozoan records from the shores and upper shelf (≤50 m depth) of the remote Azores Archipelago (central North Atlantic) have been analyzed, along with unpublished data and data from recent surveys. A checklist of 67 shallow-water species is hereby compiled for the region, of which more than one third represent records from campaigns conducted during the last 20 years. A classification on the origin of the species indicates that the majority (62%) are cryptogenic while 27% (n = 18) are considered native. Given the natural limitations for genetic exchange between the archipelago’s bryozoan populations and those from neighboring shores, the taxa presently considered as cryptogenic may yield a considerable amount of endemic species after taxonomic revision. The remaining 11% are confirmed as non-indigenous species, highlighting the importance of human-mediated transport in considerably enhancing the diversity of bryozoans in remote oceanic archipelagos, which would otherwise be off-limits to their natural dispersal capacity. In view of the need to quantitatively evaluate the certainty of species-level identification when assembling such biodiversity inventories, we have developed a method to attribute a degree of certainty to species records. The application of this method to the current checklist highlights the importance of further studies to ascertain the identification of many species recorded for the Azores, and to be able to categorize them confidently as either native, cryptogenic or non-indigenous.
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