International scientists discuss importance of macroalgal ecosystem at meeting in Tasmania

[Australia] International scientists gathered in Hobart to develop a strategy for monitoring seaweed ecosystems around the world with the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies.

Nine different countries were be represented at the meeting including Australia, Italy, Chile, USA, Mexico, Canada, Norway China and Portugal.

The group is be headed by IMAS Professor Craig Johnson who said the meeting aimed to develop an international monitoring system which was standardised, innovative and cost effective

“Dominated by kelp and other brown algae, macroalgal forests are a highly productive and diverse ecosystem on rocky reefs around the world’s coasts,” he said.

“Macroalgae perform many important functions and services, including providing nursery areas for marine life, human food resources, and protection from coastal erosion.”

He said the forests were vulnerable to ocean warming and acidification as well as pollution, overfishing, and invasive species.

Professor Johnson said scientists needed a comprehensive database on the diversity, distribution, and abundance of macroalgal ecosystems.

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