Research project: Biodiversity of algal substrates
- Start date:
Many species of marine invertebrate animals live on marine benthic algae, and some are only found on certain substrates. This project is studying how species are distributed among more than 70 species of marine plants.
Marine invertebrate species that live on marine benthic algae were studied, based on samples from several field trips with Dr Alan Millar of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney. Large assemblages of invertebrates were collected from 78 species of macroscopic marine algae. The primary aim of this research was to discover whether marine epifaunal invertebrates are generally obligate residents of particular species of macroalgae, or whether they are only using the algae as a substrate. We also plan to evaluate the efficacy of using macroalgae as surrogates for benthic diversity in rocky substrates, currently a difficult problem in benthic ecology and conservation assessment.