Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia



ALGKEY First release version

This is the first version of an interactive information and retrieval system to the freshwater algae recorded from Australia. The taxa are keyed to generic level, from which the user is directed to specific references that will assist in obtaining a species level or finer scale identification.

Click here to view the full list of Australian genera of freshwater algae.

Identification using Intkey (Windows 95/NT or later)

Click here to open the ALGKEY dataset or to download the Intkey installation file intk32.exe (save the file in any folder, and run it to install Intkey).


identification  Identification

For identification and information retrieval, you need the program Intkey and data files. You must download and install Intkey first. It is recommended that you install the current version of Intkey as earlier versions will lack some features.

You must have Windows 95/98/ME, NT or 2000. Using these platforms, Intkey can read the data files from the Internet, and afterwards save them on your hard disk if you wish.


Introduction to the database

ALGKEY will be useful as a first ‘port-of-call’ in your attempts to identify a freshwater algal specimen. It should serve as a guide only and in some cases ALGKEY will narrow down the possible generic choices and suggest further sources of information to use in order to obtain a final and accurate identification. We encourage the use of comparative illustrations when you reduce the possible number of genera to less than ten.

Diatoms have not been included in ALGKEY as they are an extremely difficult group of algae to identify and do require specialist resources for identification. The taxonomic grouping ‘Diatoms’ does feature in ALGKEY but only as a reminder that your specimen may indeed be a diatom and are directed to consult specialist literature. We provide hyperlinks to web-based identification resources for diatoms under Links.

Over 500 genera of freshwater algae have been reported from Australia. The full list of Australian genera of freshwater algae will be available soon. Some of these will be incorrect determinations or alternative names (synonyms), conversely, there are likely to be genera not yet discovered. The selection of 238 genera contained in this first stage of ALGKEY were determined by several criteria addressed in the following order:
1) Those genera comprising many species and presumably therefore commonly encountered.
2) Reported in literature after 1950.
3) Advice based on professionals active in field of freshwater phycology.

Information about each genus

Whilst the distribution data for each genus is only reported for Australian states and territories, the information about each genus is relevant to the genus throughout its world distribution. For instance, illustrations and images have been taken from a variety of print and internet sources.  Where possible each genus has been illustrated by a representative taxon recorded from Australia however where an image or illustration of an Australian representative was not available, graphic material was sourced from extra- Australian regions. The general morphological features that have been illustrated for a particular genus are not necessarily observed in Australian members of that genus.