The unusual occurrence of green algal balls of Chaetomorpha linum on a beach in Sydney, Australia.

Cooke, Julia; Lanfear, Robert; Downing, Alison; Gillings, Michael R.; Poore, Alistair G. B.; Goodwin, Ian D.; Waldron, Liette S.; Phillips, Aaron; Metti, Yola and Bulbert, Matthew W. (2015). The unusual occurrence of green algal balls of Chaetomorpha linum on a beach in Sydney, Australia. Botanica Marina, 58(5) pp. 401–407.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bot-2015-0061

Abstract

In spring 2014, thousands of green algal balls were washed up at Dee Why Beach, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Reports of algal balls are uncommon in marine systems, and mass strandings on beaches are even more rare, sparking both public and scientific interest. We identified the algal masses as Chaetomorpha linum by using light microscopy and DNA sequencing. We characterize the size and composition of the balls from Dee Why Beach and compare them to previous records of marine algal balls. We describe the environmental conditions that could explain their appearance, given the ecophysiology of C. linum.

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