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Old 01/28/2007, 07:15 PM   #1
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Arrow How to Help us Help you Identify Algae

This is a note for anyone visiting the Macroalgae forum in the hopes of finding an identification for any invading, new, or old macroalge in their aquariums:

Macroalgae can be very hard to identify. While we (the regulars in this forum) have a good basic (and general) knowledge of the morphology and recognizable structures for several of the green and brown alga, the red macroalgae remain very hard to identify from photographs.

Not only are the distinctions between macroalgae based on the look of their fronds/leaves and coloration, they are also minutely distinguished by the appearance of their reproductive tissue. These structures are not always in existence at all stages of an alga's life. Plus, in the case of red alga, there are literally thousands of species and genera to choose from when attempting an ID.

So far, we dont have any phycologists that roam Reef Central that can weigh in with expert opinions as to true identity. Please keep in mind we do the best we can, but that there will always be a margin of error in this identification game.

That said, here is what we need to have a chance at identifying your alga:

* A clear, crisp photograph

* A description of the texture of your algae (is it brittle? soft? fleshy? does it break easily?)

* A good reference for the size of the algae (try for something in the photograph that shows the scale)

* The location of your live rock or collection spot (Caribbean, South Pacific, Pacific, etc.)

* A description of the growth habit of your alga (growing on rock, on/in the sand, in the water column, etc.)

Links for photographs of algae to compare to yours:

The Algae Page

Algae ID Slideshow

Poppe Images - Algae

*Under Search AlgaeBase has a Taxonomy browser and an Image search that can be very helpful.

Beyond the Refugium: A Macroalgae Primer
*See references for good books on macroalgae ID if you are interested in having hard copies in your reef keeping library.

Tree of Life
*Just for fun, this page has an interesting note to help explain the relationships of alga to terrestrial plants.


Please feel free to add to this list of Algae Identification websites by placing links in replies to this thread.


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