Taxonomy of economic seaweeds with reference to some Pacific species. Volume VII
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Taxonomy of economic seaweeds with reference to some Pacific species. Volume VII

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    In the workshop held in Kuala Lumpur in 1995, we had a new-to-the-work shop taxon introduced, the genus Hypnea, with studies of the species led by Professor Masuda of Hokkaido University. The research by Y. Yamagishi and Dr. Masudaon Hypnea formed the centerpiece for other papers on the genus, making those studies with a relatively large geographic base important for future workers. In the past, Hypnea had the reputation of being a taxon with good-quality carrageenan and this characteristic was the reason H. musciformis was brought to Hawaii about 1975 by persons with commercial interests and no sense of ecological balance or invasion (and without permission of the Department of Agriculture).Si​nce then, Hypnea has spread to nearly all of the Hawaiian islands and was oneof the chief weedy components of a "bloom" that persisted for about 3 years on the island of Maui. Anyone who knew the most elementary biology about seaweeds would have known that any plant (seaweed or not) that has thick hooked ends to its branches could easily attach to other plants and spread in that way. We do not need to have intruders like these added to any marine flora. Similarly, the earlier introduced Eucheuma, now known as Kappaphycus alvarezii, brought to Hawaii under permit to experimentally test for growth rates, is still present in the bay to which it was introduced by Dr. M. S. Doty. A paper presented at the International Seaweed Symposium in Cebu, Philippines, in April 1998,reported that Eucheuma planted at Fanning Island many years ago, and thought not to have established itself, is now doing very well. This volume of the series on the taxonomy of economic seaweeds includes chapters on another new-​to-​the-​workshop taxon, Halymenia, and may also serve as an important starting point for further taxonomic studies. The careful study of Halymenia dilatata by Dr. Kawaguchi should be the impetus for bringing other widely distributed and poorly known Halymenia species under scrutiny. Speaking from experience, I know that most phycologists who have reported Halymenia species from various places did not section or compare the specimens with type or other "authentic" specimens. Consequently, this genus has an enormous number of names, many of which may be redundant. Because carefully dried species of Halymenia, including H. dilatata, are sold tobe rehydrated and added to fresh salads, the temptation may be great to grow theplants in places where the species do not naturally occur. As practicing phycologists, we should be exceedingly careful about giving advice to potential growers who have a poor record of introducing weedy species and then abandoning the site when things go "wrong." Hypnea musciformis is an example of this problem in Hawaii. Controlling the spread of the plant has cost the U.S. government and the state of Hawaii many hundreds of thousands of dollars, putting the burden of cleanup and control on local taxpayers and phycologists who were not responsible for the introduction to begin with. On the other hand, the taxonomic contributions of the Sea Grant workshop shave put pressure on phycologists to determine WHAT IS Gracilaria verrucosa? After several of us examined specimens of this species obtained from its alleged British type locality, we concluded that it was not like any of the plants that we were working with (in California, China, Japan, Australia, and other western Pacific places) under that name. Gracilaria verrucosa is no longer found in any of the places where workshop workers live. We have not participated in broad-range investigations of some other species ,but Professor Yamamoto apparently has inspired his own students and those of Dr. Ohno to work on certain "parasites" of Gracilaria, and the only thing left to do is to study the type specimens from the Leiden Herbarium. On the basis of the vegetative and reproductive structures in this group of plants, perhaps 3, but at least 2, species exist. The problem is, what name should be used for which taxa? Less progress has been made in Sargassum but, after all, it is a genus with far more species than all other taxa put together that we have examined. I still have hope that some solution to the grouping of taxa can be found in order to reduce the total number of species so that the plants will be easier to "handle" that is, identify, than they are now. One thing has been accomplished, nevertheless; more people than ever before know the common species of Sargassum in the western Pacific. And we have produced written records showing how we came to recognize these common species. Another problem has been solved in the Gelidiales. Santelices and Hommers and (1997) showed that Pterocladiella, with P. capillacea as the type species, has a very different structure with respect to the central axis than does Pterocladia, with P. lucida as the type species. The structure of the cystocarps also is different in the 2 genera, and different from that of the bilocular Gelidium.In examining the articles of Dr. Santelices on Pterocladia vs. Gelidium during the past 12 workshop years, we have been treated to dogged examination, first oneway, then another. Consequently, the short article announcing these results culminates a long-time interest in the morphology of these important industrial genera. It is fitting that the Sea Grant workshops contributed to these results.
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