Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 797–818 | Cite as

Beyond diving depths: deepwater macroalgae in the New Zealand region

  • Wendy Nelson
  • Kate Neill
  • Roberta D’Archino
  • Tara Anderson
  • Jenny Beaumont
  • Jenn Dalen
Original Paper


Recent research voyages in the New Zealand region have resulted in new macroalgal specimens and underwater imagery from a range of deepwater habitats in coastal and offshore areas. In addition, targeted surveys have enabled the investigation of the biodiversity of specific island and shelf regions of New Zealand, and assemblages in biogenic habitats, as well as the quantification of biodiversity of offshore areas where the potential for resource utilisation/extraction has been identified. Macroalgal records based on vouchered herbarium specimens were compiled for the New Zealand region, summarising their distribution by depth and region from 29.233° S to 52.55° S. A total of 275 taxa were recorded, with 249 identified to species level from depths greater than 19 m, and 179 species from depths greater than 29 m. Of the 249 species, 8 % were collected solely at depths greater than 29 m, and 6 % were found exclusively at levels deeper than 44 m. Around 17 % of species were found to be recorded across a very wide range of depths (e.g., habitat-forming kelp Ecklonia radiata from shallow subtidal habitats to depths in excess of 90 m). A study off the southwest North Island provided both presence and absence data for macroalgae, and, through sampling and imagery of the seabed, enabled the distribution and habitat associations of macroalgae in offshore benthic habitats dominated by soft sediments at depths of 14 to 97 m to be quantified and documented for the first time. The greatest proportion of sites where macroalgae were recorded (particularly non-geniculate coralline algae) were at depths of 45–59 m where there were either rocky outcrops or robust shell debris. This is the first collation and summary of data on the occurrence of deepwater macroalgae around New Zealand, and serve to identify gaps in sampling and to highlight issues around sampling methods and the different data that they provide. These data now serve as a baseline for subsequent work in New Zealand and for comparison with other deepwater ecosystems


Algae Archipelago Biodiversity Coastal Deep water Macroalgae Mining Subtidal 



This research was funded by NIWA under Coasts and Oceans Research Programme 2 Marine Biological Resources, Discovery and definition of the marine biota of New Zealand (2013/14 SCI) (COBR1401, COBR1403, COBR1408). Specimens were collected as part of the Biogenic Habitats on the Continental Shelf project (voyages TAN1105 & TAN1108), funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries (Biogenic Habitats: ZBD200801), New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (CCM: CO1X0907), NIWA Capability Fund (CF111358), and Oceans Survey 20/20 R/V Tangaroa days funded by Land Information New Zealand. We would like to thank Trans-Tasman Resources (TTR) for the use of their South Taranaki Bight survey data, and Dr. Tom Trnski for the opportunity to participate in the Auckland Museum Three Kings expedition in 2013. We would like to thank Mark Morrison and Emma Jones for advice, Suze Baird for preparing maps, and the many people involved in sorting samples onboard vessels, particularly Sadie Mills, Sheryl Miller (NIWA), Helen Kettles, Callum Lilly, and Ann McCrone (Department of Conservation). For assistance with collection and processing of images, we would like to thank Rob Stewart, Niki Davey, and Leanne Jones. We thank Professor Sung Min Boo, Dr. Judy Sutherland, and Dr. Joe Zuccarello for assistance with sequencing of samples. We would like to thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wendy Nelson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kate Neill
    • 1
  • Roberta D’Archino
    • 1
  • Tara Anderson
    • 3
  • Jenny Beaumont
    • 1
  • Jenn Dalen
    • 4
  1. 1.National Institute of Water and Atmospheric ResearchWellingtonNew Zealand
  2. 2.School of Biological Sciences, University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.National Institute of Water and Atmospheric ResearchNelsonNew Zealand
  4. 4.Museum of New Zealand Te Papa TongarewaWellingtonNew Zealand

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