A new taxonomic publication describes the relatively unknown algal flora of mesophotic coral ecosystems in Puerto Rico. Theseecosystems are characterized by the presence of light-dependent corals and associated communities found at depths ranging from 100 to 500 feet deep. The work, published in a recent issue of Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, was supportedpartly by the NCCOS deep coral reef ecosystem studies project in the Caribbean.
The report summarizes over 30 years of algal collections using deep-water open-circuit and closed-circuit scuba diving, dredges, and submersibles in Puerto Rico. In total, 185 algal taxa are reported at depths greater than 115 feet. These mesophotic flora consist of 60 percent red algae (Rhodophyta), 11 percent brown algae (Phaeophyceae), and 29 percent green algae (Chlorophyta).Mesophotic algae represent one-third of the known marine algae in Puerto Rico.
Citation: Ballantine, D.L., H. Ruiz Torres, and N.E. Aponte. 2016. The Mesophotic, Coral Reef-Associated, Marine Algal Flora of Puerto Rico, Caribbean Sea. Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press: Washington, D.C. 41 pp.
For more information, contact Kimberly.Puglise@noaa.gov.