AlgaeBase is an often overlooked resource available to hobbyists looking to identify and gain more information on macroalgae in the marine aquarium trade. Macroalgae identification can be tough once you get outside of the caulerpa and chaetomorpha varieties most common in the hobby but AlgaeBase has a variety of search tools to gain more insight into these fascinating organisms. Since this is a scientific database, some scientific knowledge and nomenclature will help you narrow your search.
AlgaeBase is a database of information on algae that encompasses terrestrial, marine and freshwater organisms. Currently marine algae (particularly seaweeds) have the complete data in the system. Another nice touch is the inclusion of sea-grasses even though they are actually flowering plants. Currently AlgaeBase holds information for 126,921 species and infraspecific names in the database, 10,458 images, 45,341 bibliographic items, plus 168,185 distributional records.
Without some basic knowledge of the taxonomy, genus or species your search will be a little harder when looking at diving through the 10,000-plus images. But once you have this information, you can drill down into some extraordinary information. If that specific species or variant has an associated image, it is presented right on that page along with links to a Google search and other more scientifically relevant functions.
So who puts together AlgaeBase? AlgaeBase is a collective effort of researchers across the globe but was funded Ireland’s Higher Education Authority and the Department of Education & Science via the Ryan Institute and by the European Union as the SeaweedAfrica project. Acadian Seaplants Limited of Canada helps fund AlgaeBase.
Similar to other research tools such as FishBase, AlgaeBase can be another helpful tool designed for scientific research that can be easily adapted for the marine and reef aquarium hobbyist to gain a deeper understanding of the fascinating underwater worlds we keep.