Falklands : Seaweed Flora of the Falkland Islands
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 14.12.2002 (Article Archived on 28.12.2002)
In this Article by Professor Margaret Clayton, the potential for seaweed is explained.
Project Outline: Guide to the Seaweed Flora of the Falkland Islands
Professor Margaret Clayton
Seaweeds are an important natural resource for the Falkland Islands. As well as providing the raw materials for the commercial extraction of gels such as agar and alginate, they are a key component of coastal ecosystems where they make a major contribution to primary production and provide the habitat and food source for a wide variety of marine fauna including fish and crustaceans. The health and overall biodiversity of coastal ecosystems depends on the seaweeds.
The seaweed flora of the Falkland Islands has a strong Antarctic element and forms an important biogeographical link between the marine floras of the Antarctic and the various islands and continents of the southern hemisphere, in particular South America. In comparison with southern South America, the coasts of the Falklands were less affected by ice during the last glacial period 18,000 years ago. This favoured the survival of more species and the development of a more diverse marine flora.
The purpose of this study is to advance knowledge of the seaweed biodiversity of the Falkland Islands, and to make this knowledge more accessible to the general reader in the form of a printed guide and permanent collections of herbarium specimens. Duplicate collections will be deposited in the Falklands National Herbarium and in the Natural History Museum London. There are only a few publications on this subject and the most comprehensive study (Cotton 1915) is close to 100 years old, published in a rather obscure scientific journal, and in urgent need of revision. Cotton’s article documented the extensive collections of seaweeds made by Mrs Elinor Vallentin together with the records of collections made by various early scientific expeditions to the region. Since then, knowledge of Antarctic and Subantarctic seaweeds has increased with the publication of a few articles in scientific journals and books, including a very recent one of which I am a co-author (Wiencke and Clayton 2002). None of these publications has focussed on the Seaweeds of the Falkland Islands.
- Prepare a scientific check-list of the seaweeds of the Falkland Islands.
- Prepare an illustrated guide-book to the common species of seaweeds of the Falkland Islands.
- Make collections of herbarium specimens of the seaweeds of the Falkland Islands for Falklands Conservation and the Natural History Museum, London.
Curriculum Vitae: Margaret N Clayton
Professor, School of Biological Sciences, Monash University (Melbourne, Australia)
- BSc Honours Class 1 Liverpool University, UK 1964
- Research Assistant, School of Agriculture, University of Cambridge, UK 1965
- High School Teacher, Tanzania & UK 1965-7
- PhD University of Melbourne 1972
- Diploma of Education Monash University 1972
- Lecturer, Monash University 1973
- 1994 – present Head, School of Biological Sciences
As a senior academic I have been involved in many aspects of University governance.
My current major research project (funded by the Australian Research Council) centres on the cell biology and biosynthesis of phenolic compounds in seaweeds and is revealing new evidence that phenolics have multiple physiological functions, in many ways equivalent to their roles in plants. Phenolics are important as ultraviolet screens and in protection against physical damage.
Previously, I studied sex and reproduction in a wide range of brown algae, and together with colleagues, also investigated their pheromones (=sperm attractants). We isolated and identified the active compounds secreted by eggs in 12 Australasian species.
I have participated in 2 expeditions to Antarctica and published articles on the reproductive biology of Antarctic seaweeds and also a book. This Antarctic work links in with my long-standing interest in the biogeography and evolution of southern hemisphere Brown algae. In 2002 I was awarded a Shackleton Fellowship to study seaweeds in the Falkland Islands in January 2003.
In August 2002, with a group from the Alfred-Wegener-Institut in Germany, I carried out research on the physiological responses of Arctic seaweeds to elevated UV-B radiation. This work was based at Koldewey Arctic Research Station on Spitzbergen.
Professional appointments and executive offices
Australian Research Council: Biological Sciences Panel 1994-6.
Executive Council International Phycological Society
Chair International Organizing Committee: 7 & 8th International Phycological Congress
Co-Convener Third International Phycological Congress (Monash 1988)
Australasian Society for Phycology and Aquatic Botany President 1991-1994
Wiencke, C. & Clayton, M.N. (2002) Biology of Antarctic Seaweeds. A. R. G. Gantner Verlag KG, Liechtenstein, 239pp.
Clayton, M.N. & King, R.J. (Eds) (1990) Biology of Marine Plants, Longman Cheshire, Melbourne, 501pp.
Fuhrer, B., Christianson, I.G., Clayton, M.N. & Allender, B.M. (Eds), (1981) Seaweeds of Australia, A.H. & A.W. Reed, 112pp.
Refereed articles in scientific journals and book chapters: >80