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Learn about new discoveries being made in the mesophotic zone!

Dr. Alison Sherwood

Interim Associate Dean, College of Natural Sciences, Professor of Botany, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Collections made by submersibles or using technical diving have yielded thousands of new algal specimens that we are analyzing in the context of what we know about the shallow water algae of Hawaii, as well as the deep water (mesophotic) flora of other regions of the Pacific. In this seminar I will present background and new data highlighting some recent discoveries of algal diversity from the mesophotic coral ecosystems of the Hawaiian Islands. We will look at several case studies from different groups of algae to examine patterns of diversity. Over the next several years our team will be characterizing as many of these collections as possible to describe new biodiversity and to learn more about how unique these mesophotic algae are relative to the shallow water species, and to investigate the ecological role of mesophotic algal communities in the Hawaiian archipelago.

Photo: The newly described red alga, Martensia abbottiae, being collected by submersible from mesophotic depths in the Main Hawaiian Islands.

Photo Credit: University of Hawaii Undersea Research Lab