Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Marine Algae 2011-2012

Dr Alan Millar, Principal Research Scientist and Yola Metti, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Dr Alan Millar, Principal Research Scientist and Phycologist, and his Post-Doctoral Fellow, Dr Yola Metti, successfully applied for a three year grant ($210k) from the Australian Biological Resources Study, to expand their research on the red algal Laurencia complex genera from the NSW coastline to the whole of Australia. Using the molecular sequences of the rbcL and Cox1 genes, they have discovered two new genera within the Laurencia complex that also have morphological features consistent with different genera. One of the genera was discovered on Norfolk Island and they have proposed the name Norfophycus, while the second was originally discovered from King Island in Bass Strait. Coronaphycus has been named accordingly based on the corona (crown) and phycus (seaweed).

Dr Millar has been working with Drs Bill Woelkerling and Adele Harvey at La Trobe University in Victoria (with an ARC grant) on the crustose coralline algae of south-eastern Australia. These algae lay down calcium carbonate in their cells and thus sequester carbon while also photosynthesising and producing oxygen.  They are also pivotal in building shoals and reefs along our coastlines. 

Dr Millar is collaborating with Dr Simon Dworjanyn, Director, Research and Development at the National Marine Science Centre (Southern Cross University) at Coffs Harbour on improving seaweed culture and postharvest utilisation in South-East Asia. Dr Millar will be teaching seaweed famers in Indonesia and the Philippines about the taxonomy, identification and biodiversity of their cultured seaweeds.





Laurencia caliptera Kuetzing from the Arrawarra Headland, near Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

Photo: Yola Metti