Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 471–492 | Cite as

A long-term comparison of the benthic algal flora of Clare Island, County Mayo, western Ireland

  • Fabio Rindi
  • Michael D. Guiry


The marine benthic algal flora of Clare Island, off County Mayo, western shore of Ireland, was investigated; collections of intertidal and subtidal marine algae were made at 16 sites along the eastern and southern shores in the years 1990, 1993 and 2000–2002. The data and observations obtained were compared with the results of a similar survey conducted by Arthur Disbrowe Cotton in 1910–1911. Considering the results of the original survey and the new survey together, the marine algal flora of the island currently totals 293 species; 224 species were recorded by Cotton in the original survey, whereas 223 species were identified in the present study. Most species are common to the original and the new list and the main differences are easily explainable; the new survey used SCUBA diving, which allowed the collection of several subtidal species not collected in 1910, and Cotton reported several microscopic green and brown algae, usually difficult to recognise in the field, which were not rediscovered. The most remarkable differences consist in the current presence of some large intertidal brown algae (Bifurcaria bifurcata, Cystoseira foeniculacea and Cystoseira nodicaulis) that were not reported in the survey of 1910. Two algae, Codium fragile subsp. tomentosoides and Asparagopsis armata, were introduced in Europe after the original survey. At present, the benthic algal assemblages of Clare Island still have basically the same structure and distribution as in 1910 and, if compared with other coastal areas of Europe, the intertidal marine environment of Clare Island appears remarkably well conserved.

Algal flora Alien introductions Benthos Biodiversity Chlorophyta Clare Island Ireland Marine algae Phaeophyceae Rhodophyta 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Botany, Martin Ryan InstituteNational University of IrelandGalwayIreland

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