Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Marine Algae 2010-2011

Dr Alan J.K. Millar, Principal Research Scientist and Yola Metti, Technical Officer and PhD candidate. 

Dr Alan Millar, Principal Research Scientist and Phycologist, is working with his PhD student, Yola Metti, on completing several years research on the red algal Laurencia complex. A surprising discovery based on molecular sequencing of the rbcL and Cox1 genes has shown that the Australian species Laurencia majuscula is conspecific with the Brazilian species Laurencia dendroidea. Both species were discovered and described in the 1850s, and since there is no known geological link between the Indian Ocean west coast of Australia and the Brazilian coast of the Atlantic, we surmise that this species may well have been hitch-hiking around the world on the hulls of wooden sailing ships. 

Dr Millar is collaborating with Dr Jane Williamson of Macquarie University on writing an electronic and interactive key to the common seaweeds of NSW that can be used by students, non government organisations and government organisations, such as coastal Councils, Fisheries and Maritime. By using DELTA and with potential help from CSIRO, such an interactive identification tool would be linked to www.aussiealgae.org so that once a species has been identified; the taxonomy, systematics, distribution and bibliographies can be accessed automatically, as well as images of actual herbarium specimens.

Alan and Yola Lord Howe Island
Yola Metti and Dr Alan Millar collecting marine algae on Lord Howe Island. Photo: Julie Picket-Heaps