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New Algal Species Discovered in Puerto Rico, Name Honors Funding Source

The new species, Cresia opalescens, is a small species of the red algae division Rhodophyta that inhabits crevices and small spaces in coral reefs.

The new species, Cresia opalescens, is a small species of the red algae division Rhodophyta that inhabits crevices and small spaces in coral reefs.

National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science-sponsored scientists have discovered and described a new red algal genus and species from coral reef habitats in Puerto Rico. The new species, Cresia opalescens, is a small species of the red algae division Rhodophyta that inhabits crevices and small spaces in coral reefs. The chosen generic name honors the NCCOS’s Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CRES) Program which funded the discovery and the species name refers to the gem-like appearance of the alga.

The Rhodophyta are the largest and most diverse group of marine algae with more than 4,000 species known overall. Proper classification of Cresia opalescens involved critical study of its microscopic reproductive features as well as DNA sequence analyses.

Many red algae are important reef builders that incorporate calcium in their tissues. The new species was described by NCCOS-sponsored CRES researcher David Ballantine and his students of the University of Puerto at Mayagüez.


Citation

Lozada-Troche, Chad, David L. Ballantine and Hector Ruiz. 2010. Cresia opalescens gen. et sp. nov. (Rhodymeniaceae, Rhodophyta) from Puerto Rico, Caribbean Sea. Cryptogamie Algolgie 31 (3): 293-303.

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Shorter web link for sharing: http://coastalscience.noaa.gov/news/?p=2066

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