Australian Systematic Botany Australian Systematic Botany Society
Taxonomy, biogeography and evolution of plants

Algal systematics in Australia

Timothy J. Entwisle and John Huisman

Australian Systematic Botany 11(2) 203 - 214
Published: 1998


Documentation of the algal flora of Australia had its beginnings in the seventeenth century and has progressed sporadically but with increasing vigour ever since. Earlier studies dealing with Australian algae were undertaken by overseas phycologists working with specimens collected during scientific voyages or short visits. Recent floristic studies have concentrated on specific regions, isolated localities, or particular taxonomic or ecological groupings. The algal flora of Australia is unevenly documented: northern Australia remains largely uncollected for seaweeds and marine phytoplankton, freshwater algal sampling sites are eclectically scattered across Australia, and collecting of terrestrial algae has been almost completely neglected. At present, numbers and names of species reported from Australia can only be provisional, and an immense amount of floristic and revisionary work is needed before we can match our current knowledge of the vascular plant flora. Until recently, documentation of records was poor and voucher material seldom adequate. We recommend extensive collecting, thorough taxonomic revisions, and regular contribution to Floras and guidebooks. A critical corollary is the training and employment of systematic phycologists in Australian herbaria and universities. Only then can we follow the path that leads ‘beyond the Floras’.

© CSIRO 1998

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