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Auke Bay Laboratories (ABL)

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Habitat Assessment & Marine Chemistry Program

Aleutian Survey Reveals New Species of Benthic Marine Algae

new species of red seaweed,
Dudresnaya sp.
Figure 1.  A new species of red seaweed, Dudresnaya sp., endemic to the Aleutian Islands.
 
 

Benthic marine algae have been poorly surveyed in the Aleutian Islands due to the remote and harsh nature of this island archipelago which spans over 1,800 km from the Alaska Peninsula to Attu Island.

Surveys conducted during 2006 and 2007 by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program have resulted in a major collection of benthic marine algae. Mandy Lindeberg of Auke Bay Laboratories was an invited scientist who assisted in the collection and identification of all algae. Collections were made from 97 sites throughout 24 different islands of the Aleutian Archipelago resulting in a catalog of over 900 specimens.

Preliminary results show 151 species have been identified including 16 new species, 9 of which appear endemic to the Aleutian Islands, and 52 new distribution records. Many of the new species belong to the phyla Rhodophyta or red seaweeds (Fig. 1).

A highlight of the collection is the discovery of a kelp representing a new genus and species we have formally named Aureophycus aleuticus. Many of the new species were discovered west of the biogeographic boundary Samalga Pass, a common finding among a variety of Aleutian marine species. A report describing the algal collections with distribution maps and photographs is forthcoming.

By Mandy Lindeberg

Download the complete research report:  PDF, 7.8 MB *

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