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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Common benthic algae and cyanobacteria in southern California tidal wetlands


Benthic algae and photosynthetic bacteria are important components of coastal wetlands, contributing to primary productivity, nutrient cycling, and other ecosystem functions. Despite their key roles in mudflat and salt marsh food webs, the extent and patterns of diversity of these organisms is poorly known. Sediments from intertidal marshes in San Diego County, California host a variety of cyanobacteria, diatoms, and multi-cellular algae. This flora describes approximately 40 taxa of common and notable cyanobacteria, microalgae and macroalgae observed in wetland sediments, principally from a small tidal marsh in Mission Bay. Cyanobacteria included coccoid and heterocyte and non-heterocyte bearing filamentous genera. A phylogenetically-diverse assemblage of pennate and centric diatoms, euglenoids, green algae, red algae, tribophytes and brown seaweeds was also observed. Most taxa are illustrated with photographs.

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