NEW DIGITAL IMAGE CATALOGUE
New Digital Image Catalogue and Assessment of Alaska Peninsula Seaweeds is a First. Seaweeds or benthic marine algae are often an overlooked marine resource, but they play a key role in providing Essential Fish Habitat — that is food and shelter for critical life stages of Alaska fishes and crabs. Recognizing their value, NOAA Fisheries has published an image-rich catalogue, featuring 130 observed species of benthic marine algae from the Alaska Peninsula. The publication also documents, for the first time, that four of these species are found farther west than was previously known.
“What is novel about the digital catalogue is that images of dried specimens are coupled with images of their live counterparts and easily viewed through this online publication,” said Mandy Lindeberg, lead author, and NOAA Fisheries scientist. This type of information is usually never presented or made available.”
In assembling it, scientists had the rare opportunity to assess and catalogue benthic marine algae from a remote and poorly studied coastline along the Alaska Peninsula. They were able to digitally catalogue images of 298 collected specimens and 170 in situ photos of species in their natural habitats. The catalogue also includes a detailed species list and a complete inventory of collected specimens.
“I have been fortunate and surveyed a lot of Alaska’s coast, but I have been waiting for at least 15 years to visit this particular stretch of coastline” added Lindeberg. “For a seaweed nerd like me I had a lot of expectations for this area and I was not disappointed.”
According to Lindeberg, there was a wonderful mix of species assemblages or groups. Some species groups were more similar to the eastern Pacific while others were more characteristic of the western Pacific or the nearby Kodiak Archipelago.
“There were endemic species (native to or restricted to a specific place), new distributions, and some spots that just blew my mind.”
An incredible amount of baseline information on seaweeds of the Alaska Peninsula has been captured in this publication and will be an important resource for researchers and resource managers.