Diversity of Marine Algae in the International SeaFlower Biosfera Reserve, Colombian Caribbean

Abstract: Seaweeds are important members of marine ecosystems since they contribute to primary productivity and participate in the degradation and building of coral reefs. Floristic studies may become important tools to determine the status of marine ecosystems in general. My presentation will introduce the results of my master’s thesis on the taxonomy identification of macroalgae and cyanobacteria. Thus, I could identify 201 species, of which 44% belong to Phylum Rhodophyta, 10% to Ochrophyta (Phaeophyceae), 30% to Chlorophyta, and 16% to Cyanobacteria. When comparing these results with previous studies, a deterioration of the coral reefs in these areas is evident, mainly associated with an increase in the number of filamentous algae that form algal grasses. Moreover, I would like to talk about my preliminary analysis of my doctoral thesis titled “Systematic of genus Dictyota (Phaeophyceae-Ochrophyta)”. These algae are an important group as they have the potential to outcompete coral colonies for substrate. My research focuses on cryptic diversity and species boundaries. 
Biography of Manuela Beatriz Corrales Castilla: I am a Ph.D. student in the Marine Biology program at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, having completed both my B.Sc. and Master’s in Biology. Currently, I am a guest researcher in the phycology laboratory at Ghent University.
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