Sampling event

Marine algal (seaweed) flora of Faial Island, Azores

Latest version published by Universidade dos Açores on 18 November 2020 Universidade dos Açores
Publication date:
18 November 2020
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This occurrence dataset lists the macroalgal taxonomic records compiled from occasional collections done at Faial Island (central group of the Azores archipelago) and provides information on each species’ ecology and occurrence on the island’s littoral. Collections were undertaken mainly by Island Aquatic Research Group of the Azorean Biodiversity Centre of the University of the Azores ( at the littoral and shallow sublittoral levels. A total of 95 specimens are registered (including taxa identified only at generic level) belonging to 59 taxa of macroalgae comprising 33 Rhodophyta, 15 Chlorophyta and 11 Ochrophyta (Phaeophyceae). From these, 12 are new records for the island, three are introduced, and eight have an uncertain status. Most species were only sporadically observed on the island’s littoral, but five Rhodophyta were commonly found, namely: Chondracanthus acicularis (Roth) Fredericq, Corallina officinalis Linnaeus, Halarachnion ligulatum (Woodward) Kützing, Hypnea musciformis (Wulfen) J.V.Lamouroux and Osmundea hybrida (A. P. de Candolle) K. W. Nam. Although representing an incomplete list of the seaweeds occurring in Faial, this occurrence dataset is a contribution to the knowledge of the marine alga flora of that island. For each taxon presented, it provides general information on its occurrence on the island’s littoral, and thus contributes to address several biodiversity shortfalls (see Hortal et al. 2015), namely the need to catalogue the Azorean macroalgae (Linnean shortfall) and improve the current information on their local and regional geographic distribution (Wallacean shortfall), as well as on species abundances and dynamics in space (Prestonian shortfall). It aims to provide information for biological studies such as systematics, diversity and conservation, biological monitoring, climate change and ecology, and for academics, students, government, private organizations, and the general public.

Data Records

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Event (core)

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The publisher and rights holder of this work is Universidade dos Açores. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY 4.0) License.

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This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 1cb2beee-a72a-4789-8e33-49b397c1ee8b.  Universidade dos Açores publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by GBIF Portugal.


Macroalgae; seaweeds; Rhodophyta; Ochrophyta; Chlorophyta; Azores; Faial Island; native; introduced; uncertain; occurrence data.; Occurrence


Ana Isabel Neto
  • Metadata Provider
  • Author
  • Originator
  • Point Of Contact
Associate professor with aggregation; Macroalgae Curator at the AZB Herbarium Ruy Telles Palhinha
Universidade dos Açores, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Departamento de Biologia and Grupo de Investigação Aquática Insular, IBBC-GBA/cE3c
Rua da Mãe de Deus, 13-A
9500-321 Ponta Delgada
São Miguel, Açores
Afonso C. L. Prestes
  • Originator
Universidade dos Açores, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Departamento de Biologia and Grupo de Investigação Aquática Insular, IBBC-GBA/cE3c
Rua da Mãe de Deus, 13-A
9500-321 Ponta Delgada
São Miguel, Açores
Roberto Resendes
  • Originator
Curator at the AZB Herbarium Ruy Telles Palhinha
Universidade dos Açores, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Departamento de Biologia
Rua da Mãe de Deus, 13-A
9500-321 Ponta Delgada
São Miguel, Açores
+351296650000, ext. 1731
Raul M. A. Neto
  • Originator
Bachelor in Biology
Rua Duque de Saldanha, 10-3Dt
2675-438 Odivelas
Ignacio Moreu
  • Metadata Provider
  • Author
  • Originator
Universidade dos Açores, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Departamento de Biologia and Grupo de Investigação Aquática Insular, IBBC-GBA/cE3c
Rua da Mãe de Deus, 13-A
9500-321 Ponta Delgada
São Miguel, Açores

Geographic Coverage

Faial Island, Azores, Macaronesia, Portugal (approximately 38°39′12″N 28°50′41″W).

Bounding Coordinates South West [38.501, -28.845], North East [38.653, -28.584]

Taxonomic Coverage

All macroalgae were identified to genus or species. In total, 95 taxa were identified belonging to 17 orders and 29 families, distributed by the phyla Rhodophyta (10 orders and 18 families), Chlorophyta (3 orders and 5 families), and Ochrophyta (4 orders and 6 families).

Phylum Rhodophyta (Red algae), Chlorophyta (Green algae), Ochrophyta (Brown algae)

Temporal Coverage

Start Date 1990-01-01
Start Date 1999-01-01
Start Date 2006-01-01
Start Date 2013-01-01

Project Data

To improve the knowledge of Faial Island’s macroalgal flora, seaweed collections were conducted in occasional visits to the island made in the years 1990, 1999, 2006 and 2013. Sampling was mainly done at the littoral level in different locations around the island, and sporadically at subtidal level. This occurrence dataset lists the taxonomic records and provides information on each taxon’s ecology and occurrence in the island’s littoral.

Title Marine algal (seaweed) flora of Faial Island, Azores
Identifier Seaweeds of Faial Island (Azores)
Funding This study was mainly financed by the following projects/scientific expeditions: • Portuguese National Funds, through FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, within the projects UID/BIA/00329/2019 and UID/BIA/00329/2020-2023 • Portuguese Regional Funds, through DRCT – Direção Regional da Ciência e Tecnologia, within several projects, since 2013 • CIRN/DB/UAc (Research Centre for Natural Resources, Universidade dos Açores, Departamento de Biologia) • CIIMAR (Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, Porto, Portugal).
Study Area Description The island of Faial, located at the western end of the Central Group of the Azores archipelago (38°39′12″N, 28°50′41″W), 8.3 km west of Pico Island, is 21 km long in an east-west direction and 14 km wide, with an area of 173 km². The highest elevation of the island is the Caldeira, whose highest point is 1043 meters above sea level (Dores 2006). As in the remaining Azorean Islands, the climate is temperate oceanic, with regular and abundant rainfall, high levels of relative humidity and persistent winds, mainly during winter and autumn (Morton et al. 1998). The island lacks a continental shelf, the tidal range is small (<2 m, see Instituto Hidrográfico 1981) and coasts are subjected to swell and surge most of the year. With and extension of approximately 80 km, the island coastline has several bays and small sandy beaches, flanked by rocky cliffs. Intertidal rocky platforms, with variable width and sometimes dissected by channels and gulleys, can be found in several locations (e.g. Feteira, Capelinhos) and are mostly easily accessible by land (Neto pers. observ.). The rocky-shore communities of Faial, like all over in the archipelago are macroalgae-dominated at both intertidal and shallow subtidal levels (Tittley & Neto 1994, Neto & Tittley 1995). At the intertidal, a distinct zonation pattern is evident with a higher zone dominated by invertebrates (littorinids and chthamalid barnacles) in which patches of fringes of the algae Fucus spiralis Linnaeus and Gelidium microdon Kützing may occur. This is followed by the mid-shore zone covered by algal turfs composed either by soft algae (e.g. Centroceras, Chondracanthus) and or by articulate calcareous ones (e.g. Corallina and Jania). The lower zone is mainly dominated by calcareous crusts (first strata), covered by corticated macrophytes e.g. Corallina, Pterocladiella (Neto & Tittley 1995).
Design Description The algae were sampled on occasional collections conducted in a few visits to the island in the years 1990, 1999, 2006 and 2013. Sampling was mainly done at the littoral level in different locations around the island, and sporadically at the subtidal level. Intertidal collections were done at low tide by walking along the shores. Subtidal collections were done by scuba diving. All collected specimens were given an individual registration number and vouchers were deposited at the AZB Herbarium Ruy Telles Palhinha, based at the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the University of the Azores.

The personnel involved in the project:

Célia Albuquerque
  • Content Provider
Gustavo Martins
  • Content Provider
Isabel Lima
  • Content Provider
João Brum
  • Content Provider
Maria Vale
  • Content Provider
Norberto Serpa
  • Content Provider
Steve Hawkins
  • Content Provider

Sampling Methods

Intertidal collections were made at low tide by walking along the shores. Subtidal collections were made by scuba diving. Sampling encompassed both physical collections and species presence recordings. For the former, in each sampling location, collections were made manually by scraping one or two specimens of all different species found into previously labelled bags. The species recording data was gathered by registering all species present in the sampled locations visited. Complementary data e.g. shore level (high, mid, low), orientation and type of substrate (bedrock, boulders, cobbles, mixed), habitat (tide pool, open rock, gully, crevice, cave) was also recorded.

Study Extent Collections were performed at littoral and sublittoral levels down to approximately 30 m around the island of Faial.
Quality Control The methodology adopted to identify each sampled taxon comprised morphological and anatomical observations of the whole specimens or slide preparations with the naked eye and using dissecting and compound microscopes, in order to characterize the diagnosing structures described in the literature and compare them with descriptions from other locations. In more difficult cases, specimens were sent to experts for identification.

Method step description:

  1. In the laboratory the specimens were accommodated, sorted and studied following standard procedures used in macroalgae identification. Species identification was based on morphological and anatomical characters and reproductive structures. Identifying small and simple thallus required the observation of the entire thallus with the naked eye and/or using dissecting and compound microscopes. For large and more complex algae, the investigation of the thallus anatomy required histological work to obtain longitudinal and transverse sections needed for the observation of cells, reproductive structures and other diagnosing characteristics. Various floras and keys from elsewhere were used for species identification, namely Schmidt (1931), Taylor (1967, 1978), Levring (1974), Dixon & Irvine (1977), Lawson & John (1982), Irvine (1983), Gayral & Cosson (1986), Fletcher (1987), Afonso-Carrillo & Sansón (1989), Burrows (1991), Boudouresque et al. (1992), Cabioc'h et al. (1992), Maggs & Hommersand (1993), Irvine & Chamberlain (1994), Brodie et al. (2007), Lloréns et al. (2012) and Rodríguez-Prieto et al. (2013). For more critical and taxonomically difficult taxa, specimens were taken to the Natural History Museum (London) for comparison with collections there, or sent to appropriate specialists. A reference collection was made for all specimens collected by giving them an herbarium code number and depositing them at the AZB Herbarium Ruy Telles Palhinha, University of Azores. Depending on the species and on further planned research, different types of collections were made, namely (i) liquid collections using 5% buffered formaldehyde seawater and then replacing it by Kew (Bridsen & Forman 1999); (ii) dried collections, either by pressing the algae (most species) following the method described by Gayral and Cosson (1986) or by letting them air dry (calcareous species); and (iii) silica collections. Nomenclatural and taxonomic status used here follow Algaebase (Guiry & Guiry, 2020). The database was organized on FileMaker Pro.

Collection Data

Collection Name AZB|Marine macroalgae collection of Faial Island-Occasional sampling
Collection Identifier 9fdfcab6-69d9-45bc-8210-b9b91eef474f
Parent Collection Identifier AZB Herbarium Ruy Telles Palhinha, Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the University of the Azores
Specimen preservation methods Dried and pressed,  Dried,  Formalin,  Other

Bibliographic Citations

  1. Afonso-Carrillo J & Sansón M, 1989. Clave llustrada para la Determinación de los Macrófitos Marinas Bentónicos de las Islas Canarias. Departamento de Biologia Vegetal (Botânica), Universidad de La Laguna, La Laguna. 55 pp.
  2. Boudouresque C-F, Meinesz A & Verlaque M, 1992. Médíterranée. In Boudouresque C-F et aL. (Eds.), Guide des Algues des Mers d'Europe, pp: 138-231. Delachaux et Niestlé, Paris.
  3. Bridsen D & Forman L (Eds), 1999. The Herbarium Handbook. Third Edition. Kew: The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. xii, 334p., ISBN 1-900347-43-1.
  4. Brodie J, Maggs C, John DM (Eds.), 2007. The green seaweeds of Britain and Ireland. British Phycological Society, XII+242 pp. Dunmurry, Northern Ireland.
  5. Burrows EM, 1991. Seaweeds of the British lsles. Vol. 2. Chlorophyta. Natural History Museum, London. XII + 238 pp.
  6. Cabioc'h J, Floc'h J-Y & Le Toquin A, 1992. Manche et Atlantique. ln C.-F. Boudouresque, et al. (Eds.), Cuide des Algues des Mers d'Europe, pp: 30-136. Delachaux et Niestlé, Paris.
  7. Dixon SP & Irvine ML, 1977. Seaweeds of the British Isles. Vol. I Rhodophyta. Part 1 Introduction, Nemaliales, Gigartinales. XI+252p. British Museum (Natural History) London.
  8. Dores VR, 2006. Faial in Triângulo – Livro de Ouro. Clássica, Publicações, Publicidade e Marketing, Lda, Ponta Delgada.
  9. Fletcher RL, 1987. Seaweeds of the British Isles. Vol. III. Fucophyceae (Phaeophyceae). Part 1. X+359p. British Museum (Natural History) London.
  10. Gayral P & Cosson J, 1986. Connaitre et reconnaitre les algues marines. 220p. Ouest France.
  11. Guiry MD & Guiry GM, 2020. AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway.; searched on 30 March.
  12. Hortal J, de Bello F, Diniz-Filho JAF, Lewinsohn TM, Lobo JM & Ladle RJ (2015). Seven shortfalls that beset large-scale knowledge of biodiversity. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 46, 523-549.
  13. Instituto Hidrográfico, 1981. Roteiro do Arquipélago dos Açores. PUB. (N) -lli-128-SN, Lisboa.
  14. Irvine ML, 1983. Seaweeds of the British Isles. Vol. I Rhodophyta. Part 2 A Cryptonemiales (sensu stricto), Palmariales, Rhodymeniales. XII+115p. British Museum (Natural History) London.
  15. Irvine ML & Chamberlain YM, 1994. Seaweeds of the British Isles. Vol. 1. Rhodophyta. Part 2B. Corallinales, Hildenbrandiales. Natural History Museum, London. VII + 276 pp.
  16. Lawson Gw & John Dm, 1982. The marine algae and coastal environment of Tropical West Africa. 455p. Beihefte zur Nova Hedwigia, J. CRAMER, Vaduz.
  17. Levring T, 1974. The marine algae of the archipelago of Madeira. Boletim do Museu Municipal do Funchal, 28 (125): 5-111.
  18. Lloréns JLP, Cabrero IH, Lacida RB, González GP, Murillo FGB & Oñate JJV, 2012. Flora marina del litoral gaditano. Biologia, ecologia, usos y guía de identificacíon. 368 p. mCN Monografias de Ciencias de la Naturaleza. Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Cadiz, Cadiz.
  19. Maggs CA & Hommersand MH, 1993. Seaweeds of tfte British Jsles. Vol1. Rhodophyta. Part 3A. Ceramiales. Natural History Museum, London. xv + 444 pp.
  20. Morton, B, Britton JC, Martins AMF, 1998. Coastal Ecology of the Azores. Sociedade Afonso Chaves, Ponta Delgada. 249pp.
  21. Neto AI & Tittley I, 1995. Structure and zonation of algal turf communities on the Azores: a numerical approach. Boletim do Museu Municipal do Funchal, Sup. 4: 487-504.
  22. Rodríguez-Prieto C, Ballesteros E, Boisset F & Afonso-Carrillo J, 2013. Guía de las macroalgas y fanerógamas marinas del Mediterráneo Occidental. 656 p. Ed. Omega, S.A., Barcelona.
  23. Schmidt OC, 1931. Die marine vegetation der Azoren in ihren Grundzügen dargestellt. Bibliotheca Botanica, 24(102): IX+116p., 10 Tafl.
  24. Taylor WR, 1967. Marine algae of the northeastern coasts of North America. VIII+509p. The University of Michigan Press.
  25. Taylor WR, 1978. Marine algae of the eastern tropical and subtropical coasts of the Americas. XXI+870p. The University of Michigan Press.
  26. Tittley I & Neto AI, 1994. "Expedition Azores 1989". Benthic marine algae (seaweeds) recorded from Faial and Pico. Arquipélago. Life and Marine Sciences, 12A: 1-13.

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