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You are here: /main/research expeditions/CReefs 2006/Collection/Algae

Census of Marine Life, Census of Coral Reefs Expedition to French Frigate Shoals (October 2006)

Ship Logs

Algal Collections

Lead Scientist: Rebecca Most, Peter Vroom
Target Habitats: Fore Reef, Back Reef, Reef Crest, Lagoon Patch Reef, La Perouse, Arc shell reefs, Acropora areas, Halimeda Fields
Target Organisms: macro, turf, coralline; macrofauna and mesofauna
A significant goal of algal surveys is to qualitatively describe the algal community and prepare a comprehensive species list for each site, specifically targeting lesser known species. Numerous species of algae unknown to science are frequently being described from Pacific Islands. Few algal experts have visited islands within the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and the possibility of describing new species (thus increasing our understanding of biodiversity) is great. Working at depths of 0 to 30 m at the target habitats, a gallon-sized bag of algal samples (including red, brown, and green macro- and turf algae, and crustose coralline red algae) will be collected at each site and brought back to the ship for identification and analysis. Along with the hand collection of both macro and turf algae, crustose coralline algae will be collected using a small chisel to remove pieces of algae. No pieces of crustose coralline algae larger than 1" x 1" will be collected. Samples will initially be processed by Dr. Alison Sherwood's lab at the University of Hawaii, for molecular barcoding analysis to determine genetic diversity of the Hawaiian algal flora. Once processed, these samples will be placed in Bishop Museum. Detailed microscopic analysis and the placement of holotype specimens in internationally accepted herbaria are a necessary part of this process. An understanding of algal species ranges and genetic similarity across Pacific Islands will enable biogeographic hypotheses to be formulated and provide information for marine dispersal mechanism useful to biologists in many different disciplines.

A major component of reef fauna lives on the surfaces and in the interstices of marine algae. Algae serve as nursery habitats for the juveniles of some macrofauna, and shelter mesofauna occurring exclusively on plants. Although algal associates can dramatically affect the ecology of their host plants and are an important link in the reef food chain, their diversity is poorly documented. The associates comprise complex communities, and constituent species may occur solely on particular groups of algae or on single host species.

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Ship Logs

Ship Logs:
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Daily or semi-daily personal journal entries by the particpants in the expedition. These journals do not necessarily reflect the positions of any of the agencies connected with this project.

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