Seaweeds of the canadian west coast, clarkston 2014

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A short intro to seaweeds biodiversity and ecology for a public workshop in Tofino, B.C. in 2014 for Raincoast Education Society

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  • My goal today is to share with you my awe for the weird and wonderful types of seaweeds there are and their importance to coastal ecosystems, and my appreciation for the extent to which seaweeds impact the everyday lives of humans. I hope by the end that you agree with me!
    ask throughout if recognize the common spp. shown.
  • FEEDBACK: none of these words came up with WCS group. Had much more positive thoughts coming in.
  • When I ask people what they think about seaweeds, what words jump into their minds, I often hear “green”, “slimy”, “stinky” and other negative-sounding words. I think this is because most people I know mostly see seaweeds in this state – dead and rotting, detached washed up on the beach, sometimes in big piles like this after a storm.
    FEEDBACK: Need better picture here; a picture with more perspective, of the beach perhaps.
    – Need more powerful analogy here to convey that many people only encounter seaweeds when they’re dead. A “living-dead” comparison, perhaps with a whale – everyone has mental image of living whale, can then show pic of whale washed up on beach. Then draw parallel to seaweeds – dead on beach, rotting, smelly (same as dead whale), but beautiful when alive and in their natural habitat, just like a whale.
  • My background with seaweeds—grew up in Comox, been playing with seaweeds my whole life.
  • Ok, look at these four pictures and try to decide for yourself what the answer to the question is. Nod your head when you’ve decided. Ok, now using your clicker...
    Photos: Top right, Champia (algaebase.org), Zostera (algaebase.org), Mazzaella and Nereocystis (Bridgette Clarkston)
    WCS FEEDBACK: no one thought champia a seaweed. knew bottom two.
  • So as we saw with the clicker question earlier, seaweeds come in all shapes, sizes and colours.
    – there are some characteristics that almost all seaweeds have. Though, as with almost everything in nature, there are exceptions to these. Seaweeds tend to be...
  • reproduce by spores—no seeds or flowers.
    show alt. of generation of kelps, maybe kelp spore video (1.5 min)
    VIDEO from mbar?
    http://www.mbari.org/staff/conn/botany/browns/Cystoseira/lifehistoryfilm.htm
    http://www.mbari.org/staff/conn/botany/browns/saraho/reprodct.htm
    http://www.mbari.org/staff/conn/botany/browns/james/Web/lifehis.htm **WCS FEEDBACK: used this video, super confusing to group that new sporophyte “moved” to the left near end of video. Thought it was actaully moving. Didn’t explain this part so well, need scale bar or something better to shwo size differential.
  • basic parts of seaweed
    holdfast
    stipe
    blade
  • seagrasses, marine lichens, photosyn. corals
    – zostera left, verrucaria right (ubc botanical garden photo).
    Seagrasses (Zostera spp.) and surfgrasses (Phyllospadix spp.): These genera are in fact angiosperms that have moved into the marine environment. Although they are photosynthetic marine macrophytes, they reproduce using flowers and seeds. Both genera are important marine plants and are hosts to various epiphytic marine algae, but are not themselves seaweeds.
    Marine lichens (e.g. Verrucaria spp.) Although lichens are a symbiosis between cyanobacteria (an alga) and a fungus, and marine lichens do exist, these are not considered seaweeds.
    Corals and sea anemones: corals are actually colonial animals, although they derive some energy from algal symbionts. Sea anemones also have endosymbiotic algae (which in some cases give rise to the coloration of the anemone), but sea anemones are also animals.
    (from Bates intro to seaweeds article)
  • marine algae that are not seaweeds are microscopic plankton (or benthic spp…)
  • Tropical, coral reefs with lots of different fish, or maybe the Amazon rain forest. The word biodiversity has several different meanings to the people that study it, which I won’t get into; today I’ll stick to talking about biodiversity as the number of different species, the number of different types of organisms.
    When I hear about biodiversity, it’s often about the loss...
    Image source: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/threecorals.html
  • The destruction of habitat – like the bleaching of coral reefs –, and the loss or even extinction of species. Naturally, we are very concerned with understanding and reducing the loss of biodiversity when it’s due to human activities.
    However, it’s hard to measure what’s been lost if you don’t know how many species were there in the first place. That’s where we are with most types of organisms – we simply don’t know with much accuracy or precision, how many species there are, where they live or how to tell them apart.
    Photo source: http://phylas.blogspot.ca/2011/05/coral-bleaching.html
  • And that includes the seaweeds. Most people aren’t aware of the impact seaweeds and their diversity has on us, on humanity.*– for example, many people are unaware that BC is a hotspot of seaweed diversity*
    biodiversity of forms, diversity of functions and uses.
  • And that includes the seaweeds. Most people aren’t aware of the impact seaweeds and their diversity has on us, on humanity.*– for example, many people are unaware that BC is a hotspot of seaweed diversity*
    biodiversity of forms, diversity of functions and uses.
  • So how many species of seaweeds are there?
    AUDIENCE POLL BEFORE M/C QUESTION: ttyn
    – how many species of everything
    – how many species of birds, mammals
    – how many species of seaweeds
    WCS FEEDBACK: did a TPS here with these questions, no one had any idea of even range of any species group or total. pretty fun part.
  • FEEDBACK: clicker votes – A) 36%, B) 28%, C) 12%, D) 12%, E) 12% (25 total)
    – went over well, I think, except that most guessed the top number! Does this then make the actual diversity seem less impressive??
  • So there are lots of different kinds of seaweeds and also many found in Canada. Most Canadian species – about 600 or so – are found here along the B.C. coast.
    Source: http://canadianbiodiversity.mcgill.ca
  • Humans collecting and using seaweeds for thousands of years. Will talk about this tomorrow night.
    Botanical collections made for documenting diversity and distribution of plants, animals, fungi and seaweeds for hundreds of years, housed in collections like natural history museum in London recently visited.
    Techniques you will practice tomorrow are part of long tradition used by scientists, naturalists and curious individuals to better understand the natural world.
    Nowadays also routine to use DNA as part of toolkit for identifying species, but won’t get into that here.
  • Humans collecting and using seaweeds for thousands of years. Will talk about this tomorrow night.
    Botanical collections made for documenting diversity and distribution of plants, animals, fungi and seaweeds for hundreds of years, housed in collections like natural history museum in London recently visited.
    Techniques you will practice tomorrow are part of long tradition used by scientists, naturalists and curious individuals to better understand the natural world.
    Nowadays also routine to use DNA as part of toolkit for identifying species, but won’t get into that here.
    WCS FEEDBACK: group perked up when i explained techniques used in course for collecting, pressing same as professionals use.
  • ...seaweeds are a bit like the mafia.
    You know how in mafia movies, what they call a family isn’t necessarily made up of people who are blood relatives (i.e., closely-related by descent)? Some might be, but this kind of “family” isn’t defined by ancestry, it’s defined in a more functional way – the members work together and have similar roles in society. Well, the term “seaweed” is a lot like that, it describes three major groups...
    FEEDBACK: Think the mafia analogy went over well, but didn’t ask anyone afterwards if they got it. Would be interesting to know...
    image: http://newspaper.li/goodfellas/
    WCS FEEDBACK: this example popular
  • The “greens”, “reds” and “browns”. The species within each group, and there are many…
    Seaweed groups were originally established based on their pigments (used for photosynthesis)
    “brilliant grassy green”
    Photos: algaebase.org (Ulva, Callophyllis, Alaria)
  • ...are relatively closely-related and we can trace their history back to a single common ancestor. However, the three groups have been evolving separately from each other for a very long time, millions and millions of years and are not each other’s closest relatives. In fact, the brown seaweeds are more closely-related to a group of phytoplankton called diatoms than they are to either reds or greens.
    WCS FEEDBACK: this idea seemed to go over well, noticed it used correctly in conversatinos over weekened.
  • within each group are many species
    Greens: mainly intertidal and shallow subtidal. ~117 spp. in Northeast Pacific. Many freshwater greens. (Gabrielson 2000, needs revision)
    Browns: ~ 141 spp. here. Entirely marine. Pigments: fucoxanthin & beta-carotene pigments, chl a&c.
    Reds: ~ 373 spp. here. some freshwater, mostly marine. Widest range of zonation.
    – Incidentally, originally grouped by pigments they contain and hence colour they are, however, not all are these colours. Reds in particular can be anything from red...
    FEEDBACK: Stephan noted that I mentioned the oldest fossil of a red algae as ~1.2 billion years old (had not planned to talk about that), but I didn’t put that number into perspective. Suggested that, with kids in the audience, that I draw a comparison to age of dinosaurs or their extinction – something they immediately identify with happening a very long time ago.
  • within each group are many species
    Greens: mainly intertidal and shallow subtidal. ~117 spp. in Northeast Pacific. Many freshwater greens. (Gabrielson 2000, needs revision)
    Browns: ~ 141 spp. here. Entirely marine. Pigments: fucoxanthin & beta-carotene pigments, chl a&c.
    Reds: ~ 373 spp. here. some freshwater, mostly marine. Widest range of zonation.
    – Incidentally, originally grouped by pigments they contain and hence colour they are, however, not all are these colours. Reds in particular can be anything from red...
    FEEDBACK: Stephan noted that I mentioned the oldest fossil of a red algae as ~1.2 billion years old (had not planned to talk about that), but I didn’t put that number into perspective. Suggested that, with kids in the audience, that I draw a comparison to age of dinosaurs or their extinction – something they immediately identify with happening a very long time ago.
  • Irridescence: This sheen is caused by the same phenomenon that gives rise to iridescence when you pour oil on a puddle: multiple layers (of cuticle in the case of Mazzaella) cause light to be differentially refracted, giving the multiple colors of reflected light.
    (bates paper)
  • to almost black…
  • During my PhD I worked on a big group of red seaweeds (including one that’s black); my favourite species came from these three smaller groups – the genus Euthora, the genus Pugetia and the genus Callophyllis. All of the images here are from seaweeds collected in B.C.
    I was lucky enough to get to describe four brand new species of seaweed, all found here in B.C., including my favourite...
    FEEDBACK: Noticed that at this point I started using the word “genera” without explaining it. Need to explain if going to use!
    Photos: Gary Saunders
  • ...the first species I discovered and decided to name in honour of one of my artistic inspirations, the filmmaker Tim Burton. New species of seaweeds are discovered all the time, however, this particular discovery got a bit of attention in the media – CBC, Discovery Channel – because of its name.
    WCS FEEDBACK: went into lots of detail here. went over well, were interested.
  • 2 other species, one new genus.
    May find this tomorrow, certainly grows on West Coast Van. Island.
  • My work the tip of the iceberg
    Bottom line: still many species yet to discover.
  • THINK-PAIR-SHARE: found in whole ocean? which parts? Prompt them to think about what they know of basic biology of seaweeds from intro.
    Falls into three broad categories of distribution: geographical, spatial, and temporal/seasonal
    ever noticed any algae at your favorite beach/tidepools, etc.
  • Found in all the world’s oceans, but not throughout the ocean
    left: pacific ocean map showing our coast, right intertidal shot
  • Found in all the world’s oceans, but not throughout the ocean
    left: pacific ocean map showing our coast, right intertidal shot
  • Found in all the world’s oceans, but not throughout the ocean
    left: pacific ocean map showing our coast, right intertidal shot
  • Image:
    http://geology.campus.ad.csulb.edu/people/bperry/Geology%20160/OceanSedimentImages/RockyShorelineZonation.jpg
    WCS FEEDBACK: didn’t explain this well. and zones not used super well by gorup pver weekend….but were getting general idea.
    http://geology.campus.ad.csulb.edu
  • cross-section of zonation
    info on conditions seaweeds deal withinintertidal and sub tidal
    each adapted to living under certain conditions, some have higher tolerances to change than others, some found in many places others rare.
  • Factors that affect where seaweeds live:
    ABIOTIC: wave exposure, tidal exposure, light, nutrients, temperature, salinity, substrate type (generally found in rocky habitats).
    BIOTIC: competition (shading, chemical defenses), herbivory
    BOTH; historical distribution, water quality (e.g., pollution), potential to disperse there.
    ALSO: can point out here dampening of waves by seaweeds, especially kelp beds.
  • Nereo can be 50m tall in a single growing season!
    Some kelps can last 15 years (previous two from Bates paper).
    Ulva that settles, grows, reproduces and senesces in 2 weeks
    Ascophyllum that lasts for decades
  • so we find them in all these places, what are they doing there?
  • internet access, there are some good YouTube videos – if you search for  ‘underwater kelp forest’
    NOAA video (w/subtitles) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcbU4bfkDA4
    great shots of kelp, no text: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwZ5ou-ADHI
    6:30 and ~7mins shows great diversity shots: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwIJvmBOj7s **WCS FEEDBACK: used this video but resolution poor. did get “oohs” and most had never even snorkelling in kelp so went over well.
  • provide habitat – from the commonly known kelp forests, to lesser known reds/browns as understory, tidepools, intertidal prevent desiccation, floating oceanic mats for fish shelter, structure for coral reefs, etc.
    – stress you are speaking mostly of kelps and rockweeds as big habitat providers, but all contribute
    FEEDBACK: kinda rushed through this section (and cut out other slides prior to talk) because I thought I would be short on time. In retrospect, could and should have spent more time here exploring habitats little known to most people.
  • From simple fact that they provide most biomass in our areas. Four genera of rockweeds (fucus, cystoseira, sargassum, pelvitopsis, 6spp total), over 30spp of kelp. Won’t find kelps in upper intertidal.
    Ecologically, kelps and rockweeds are major habitat providers and nursery environments for fish, invertebrates, and for some other algae. Their extensive biomass provides a large amount of primary productivity oxygen to nearshore food webs. Further, nearshore kelp beds are useful for protecting shorelines from erosion by decreasing the impacts of water motion and storms. Clearly the browns are an important group of seaweeds. (bates paper)
    Photo: crab on Macrocystis (algaebase.org)
  • When think of habitat, usually image of kelp forest jumps to mind. But other important seaweed habitats as well. Organisms living in the intertidal are exposed to the air regularly, exposing them to stressful and even fatal levels of desiccation, high temperatures, and low salinity. However, if you stay tucked under a robust species such as Fucus, etc., you can avoid these stressors and survive.
    FEEDBACK: audience seemed interested in this slide, but I could have gone into greater depth, e.g., showed more organisms that benefit from protection provided during low tide.
    Photos: algaebase.org (Fucus vesiculosus in Ireland)
  • prevent dessication, over-heating for many organisms.
  • re consumed by many different organisms directly
    HOLD BREATH–think of connection b/t seaweeds and oxygen.
    “Their [kelp and rockweed beds] extensive biomass provides a large amount of primary productivity oxygen to nearshore food webs.” Bates paper
    FEEDBACK: kind of butchered this part, went through it very superficially. Could have shown more info, explained more. TOO SHALLOW.
    Photos: algaebase.org (Macrocystis, Osmudea)
  • So many resources like books will bring. Will also discuss tomorrow afternoon
    Phycological resources are abundant if you look in the right place. Here I list a number of books, websites, journals, and forums that are particularly relevant to the seaweeds of the Northeast Pacific. For those who are serious about getting a hands-on treatment, there are a number of phycology immersion courses that one can take at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (www.bms.bc.ca) on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
    (Colin paper)
  • They may look simple or uninteresting from far away or when they’re rotting, but take a look up close and in their element and I think you’ll be inspired too.
    END W/ CONSERVE ONLY WHAT WE LOVE QUOTE??
    Photo: Phycodrys (algaebase.org)
  • journaling
    how to collect
    pay attention to which ones you find particularly interesting.
    WCS FEEDBACK: USE PROPS TO DEMONSTRATE THIS, SAME PROPS AGAIN NEXT MORNING. SOME STUS STUS DID NOT DO THIS AT ALL OR EVEN BRING THEIR JOURNAL
  • journaling
    how to collect
    pay attention to which ones you find particularly interesting.
  • Seaweeds of the canadian west coast, clarkston 2014

    1. 1. Seaweeds of the West Coast Raincoast Education Society Tofino, B.C. Canada Tofino, B.C. Canada Dr. Bridgette Clarkston © Bridgette Clarkston 2014 (all images taken by B. Clarkston unless otherwise stated).
    2. 2. What does the word “seaweed” bring to mind?
    3. 3. “slimy” “gross” “stinky” “green” “sushi”
    4. 4. How many pictures show a seaweed? a) 0 b) 1 c) 2 d) 3 e) 4 Photo:Photo: algaebase.orgalgaebase.org Photo:Photo: algaebase.orgalgaebase.org
    5. 5. What makes a seaweed a seaweed?
    6. 6. marine
    7. 7. multicellular
    8. 8. attached
    9. 9. attached
    10. 10. photosynthetic
    11. 11. reproduction (video kelp example)
    12. 12. holdfast blade stipe Body plan
    13. 13. who isn’t a seaweed?
    14. 14. phytoplankton are not seaweeds
    15. 15. biodiversity of seaweeds
    16. 16. what is “biodiversity”? Photo:Photo: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/threecorals.htmhttp://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/threecorals.htm
    17. 17. biodiversity loss Photo:Photo: http://phylas.blogspot.ca/2011/05/coral-bleaching.htmlhttp://phylas.blogspot.ca/2011/05/coral-bleaching.html
    18. 18. biodiversity of seaweeds
    19. 19. B.C. is a seaweed biodiversity “hotspot”!
    20. 20. ?
    21. 21. Number of seaweed species compared to other types of life? 31,200 5,400 1,000 10,000 9,500 mammals birds fishes gymnosperm plants seaweeds ?? a)a) b)b) c)c) d)d) e)e)
    22. 22. Number of seaweed species compared to other types of life? 31,200 5,400 1,000 fishes seaweeds birds gymnosp erm plants mammals 10,000 9,500
    23. 23. Number of seaweed species compared to other types of life in Canada? 1,100 700 426 194 34 fishes seaweeds birds gymnosp erm plants mammals
    24. 24. How do we know how many species?
    25. 25. Collecting, identifying for many years…e.g., Natural History Museum London
    26. 26. How are seaweeds related? Photos: algaebase.org
    27. 27. Seaweeds are a bit like the mafia… Photos: http://newspaper.li/goodfellas/
    28. 28. Three broad groups of seaweeds greens reds browns Photo: algaebase.orgPhoto: algaebase.org
    29. 29. how greens, reds and browns are related Keeling et al. 2005. TREE. 20(12): 670-67 Image modified from H. Kucera
    30. 30. 1500 species 1700 species 6100 species greens reds browns *Approx. number, global
    31. 31. 141 species 117 species 373 species greens reds browns *Approx. number, NE Pacific
    32. 32. 141 species 117 species “reds” a misleading name… greens reds browns *Approx. number, NE Pacific
    33. 33. irridescent! Photo: algaebase.org
    34. 34. black! Photo: algaebase.org
    35. 35. Euthora CallophyllisPugetia I worked on a family of red seaweeds… Photos: Gary Saunders
    36. 36. Euthora timburtonii
    37. 37. new genus Salishia
    38. 38. Still many species to discover…
    39. 39. Where do seaweeds live? Photo: iStockphoto
    40. 40. Geographical: Coastal zone of all oceans Images: Google search
    41. 41. Why coastal?
    42. 42. Light!
    43. 43. Spatial: Different zones of the rocky shore Image: http://geology.campus.ad.csulb.edu
    44. 44. Spatial: Different zones of the rocky shore Photo: Google search
    45. 45. Wave exposure, light, other habitat features important
    46. 46. Temporal: seaweeds have seasons
    47. 47. What do seaweeds do?
    48. 48. kelp forest video
    49. 49. habitat
    50. 50. kelps and rockweeds especially important
    51. 51. habitat on shore Photo: algaebase.org
    52. 52. Photo: algaebase.orgPhoto: algaebase.org
    53. 53. food and oxygen Photo: algaebase.org
    54. 54. How do I learn more about seaweeds?
    55. 55. Thank you. Questions? Photo: algaebase.org
    56. 56. Our seaweed-filled weekend! Tomorrow •Morning: observe and collect •Afternoon: identify and preserve •Evening talk: Seaweeds and People Sunday •Morning: Ecology
    57. 57. Collecting seaweeds for identification* • Collect entire specimen, including holdfast (if can). • Place seaweed in bag with a piece of paper with a number. • Multiple seaweeds can go in same bag if distinctive enough. *Different technique used for food
    58. 58. Collecting seaweeds for identification In journal, write the same number and record information: •Location (site name, date & time) •Habitat (growing on? wave exposure? tide height? in a tide pool?) •Anything else of note. •If take a photo, record photo number (e.g., DSC0035) in journal.
    59. 59. identifying and preserving seaweeds…tomorrow!

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