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Open AccessArticle

Rhodolith Bed Discovered off the South African Coast

1
Centre for Statistics in Ecology, Environment and Conservation, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
2
Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, University of the Western Cape, Bellville 7535, South Africa
3
Geological Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 3629, South Africa
4
Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Cape Town 8001, South Africa
5
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(4), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12040125
Received: 27 February 2020 / Revised: 16 March 2020 / Accepted: 17 March 2020 / Published: 27 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structure and Biodiversity of Rhodolith Seabeds)
Rhodolith beds have not previously been recorded in South Africa. A multidisciplinary research effort used remote sampling tools to survey the historically unexplored continental shelf off the Eastern Cape coast of South Africa. A rhodolith bed, bearing both living and dead non-geniculate coralline red algae, was discovered in the 30–65 m depth range off the Kei River mouth in the newly proclaimed Amathole Offshore Marine Protected Area. Some of the rhodolith forming coralline algal specimens were identified as belonging to at least three genera based on their morphology and anatomy, namely, Lithophyllum, Lithothamnion and a non-descript genus. Rhodolith mean mass and diameter were 44.85 g ± 34.22 g and 41.28 mm ± 10.67 mm (N = 13), respectively. Remotely operated vehicle (ROV) imagery revealed a suite of epibenthic red macroalgae associated with the rhodolith bed. Taxonomy, vertical structure and distribution of rhodoliths in South Africa require further investigation. View Full-Text
Keywords: temperate mesophotic ecosystem; non-geniculate coralline algae; ROV temperate mesophotic ecosystem; non-geniculate coralline algae; ROV
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Adams, L.A.; Maneveldt, G.W.; Green, A.; Karenyi, N.; Parker, D.; Samaai, T.; Kerwath, S. Rhodolith Bed Discovered off the South African Coast. Diversity 2020, 12, 125.

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