We’ve learned a lot about species and habitats through CIRCAC’s research along our amazing and diverse coast. Below you can read a little about our emphasis on understanding which seaweeds inhabit our various nearshore ecosystems. To find out about the specific seaweeds shown on our 2018 calendar and bookmark, you can scroll to the bottom and click on the web-linked seaweed images.
The Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council (CIRCAC) has focused significant efforts cataloguing and mapping the coastal environment in our area. The various shoreline habitats vary in their sensitivity to oil, and it is important to have an inventory of habitats and species at risk in order to improve and prioritize oil spill response efforts.
In the process of mapping these shoreline habitats, we identify individual species that make up the community assemblages. In many cases, our data are the first comprehensive collections of invertebrate and seaweed species data for a particular area. For this reason, we often create voucher collections that can be examined by specialist taxonomists to confirm or correct identifications made in the field.
For seaweeds, the best way to preserve voucher specimens is to press them. If processed and stored correctly, pressed seaweed specimens can survive for more than a century and are an excellent resource for future scientists to examine DNA or look for changes to species distributions. CIRCAC and our research partners have archived most of our specimens at formal university herbariums. More recently, we collect high resolution digital scans that allow us to continue to use before dispersing our original pressed specimens.
Below, you can find links to information about the particular species displayed on our 2018 calendar and bookmark. This link will take you to the website. This website was funded by CIRCAC but created through the efforts of Mandy Lindeberg of NOAA’s Auke Bay Laboratory and Dr. Sandra Lindstrom of the University of British Columbia. Their website provides an enormous amount of information about many of the seaweeds in coastal Alaska. These two taxonomists have worked with CIRCAC on most of our coastal habitat studies and continue to provide excellent information about the hundreds of specimens we’ve seen found on these surveys.
Another fantastic source of information is “A Field Guide to Seaweeds of Alaska”. Also compiled by Ms. Lindeberg and Dr. Lindstrom, this is a very useful field guide to more than a hundred seaweeds, seagrasses, and marine lichens of Alaska. Not only does it include beautiful photographs of each plant, as well as digital scans of pressed specimens, it also includes photographs of the plants in their natural environment. These hundreds of gorgeous photographs were mainly taken by Ms. Lindeberg over several decades of research along Alaska’s coast. The book also describes various coastal habitats in coastal Alaska. In the link provided above to the Alaska Seagrant page, scroll down to click through example pages of the field guide.