Coralline algae: taxonomy and ecology

Coralline algae

Harvey & Woelkerling Lab

Lab members

Adela HarveyDr Adela Harvey

Lecturer Level B, College of Science, Health and Engineering

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Dr William Woelkerling

Emeritus Scholar, College of Science, Health and Engineering

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Our research focuses on the taxonomy, ecology, distribution and biodiversity of "Coralline Red Algae" and "Rhodolith Beds" in Australia. We have three main projects.


Safeguarding and improving environmental management of rhodolith beds in Australia (key marine ecosystems)

To continue to conserve our natural assets and protect our marine biodiversity, it is vital that policy makers have comprehensive, reliable data to make appropriate decisions on conservation issues and provide management frameworks. Rhodolith beds are key marine ecosystems currently at risk from anthropogenic disturbances (ocean acidification, coastal degradation, sedimentation and overfishing).

The final outcome of the project will be an online (Open Access) interactive map detailing the distribution of rhodolith beds in Australia aimed at influencing marine managers and challenging their attitude and current knowledge of rhodolith beds as "sparse and isolated".

Safeguarding rhodolith beds in Australia: integration of science into planning and policy and raising public awareness through "Citizen Science"

Because rhodolith morphology, growth rates and carbonate productivity varies greatly between species, an essential tool for the quantification and management of Australia's vast marine carbonate production resource is the ability to identify rhodolith species.

This project will use an integrated morphological and multilocus molecular approach to allow for accurate and reliable species identification and provide the foundation for future detailed evolutionary, ecological and carbonate studies among these "at risk" habitats.

This is a collaborative project with Parks Victoria that will involve local dive group volunteers as citizen scientists and will have direct implications for the conservation and management of rhodolith beds in Victoria. The project is intended to promote knowledge of rhodolith beds in Australia to scientists, marine managers, benthic surveyors and interested community groups.

Floristic account of the coralline red algal genus Jania (including Cheilosporum and Haliptilon) (Corallinaceae, Corallinales, Rhodophyta) in south-eastern Australia

Understanding how to sustain and protect Australia's marine biodiversity and detailed knowledge of complex marine ecosystems is fundamentally dependent on the ability to confidently and accurately identify species.

The final account will include both dichotomous and tabular keys as well as photographic figures illustrating the diagnostic and other important features of each species of Jania. The results from this project will provide new insights into coralline algal biodiversity and allow for easier and more reliable identification of specimens, thus providing an important tool for future ecological studies and helping to maintain and protect Australia's marine biodiversity.