Benthic/Invertebrate Training
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Benthic/Invertebrate Training. Algae Swath. Johnson. Macrocystis pyrifera. Macrocystis pyrifera. Count all plants larger than 1 meter high When counting stipes of Macrocystis plants, begin counting at 1 meter above bottom (usually waist high if standing). Nereocystis luetkeana.

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Benthic/Invertebrate Training

Algae Swath


Macrocystis pyrifera

  • Count all plants larger than 1 meter high

  • When counting stipes of Macrocystis plants,

  • begin counting at 1 meter above bottom

  • (usually waist high if standing)

Nereocystis luetkeana

  • Must be at or above 30 cm in height to count

  • Long spindly stipe ending with large pneumatocyst

  • at the top of water



Cystoseira osmundacea


Cystoseira osmundacea

  • Become reproductive with long chain bladders during

  • summer season

  • Must be at least 6 cm in diameter to be counted

  • In order to get a proper count, it is necessary to grab

  • each plant and find its base to distinguish an individual

  • from a group of plants

Photo from Gotshall

Pterygophera californica


Pterygophera californica

  • Has very sturdy woody stipe

  • Frond contains long, wide midrib with several blades

  • sticking out on either side

  • Count all Pterygophera plants above 30cm high

Eisenia arborea

Photo from Gotshall

Eisenia arborea

  • Has very thick, flexible stipe which spits into two at

  • the top

  • Several blades sprout out to each side of the Y-shaped

  • stipe and gives alga a bushy appearance

  • Count all Eisenia plants above 30cm high


Laminaria setchellii

Photo from Gotshall

Laminaria setchellii

  • Has very slender, flexible stipe

  • Frond is long, wide and usually tears in several places

  • causing it to look like a palm

  • Count all Laminaria plants above 30cm high

Costaria costata

  • Large blade (up to 2m) with very small stipe

  • This alga is characterized by its five ribs; two are located on one side of the blade, three on the other

Laminaria farlowii

  • Has an extremely short stipe with long wide blade attached

  • Blade must be 10 cm wide for plant to be counted

Alaria marginata

  • Usually found in the low intertidal or very shallow subtidal

  • Short stipe with very long blade, puckered around a pronounced midrib

Pleurophycus gardneri

  • Seen frequently in more Southern sites such as Big Sur and Cambria

  • Like Laminaria setchellii, but with large, lighter colored midrib up to 4 cm wide

  • Blade is wavy with slight puckering at midrib

Undaria pinnatifida

  • When reproductive, it has a very large and distinct sporophyll at base of plant

  • Easily spread invasive species; do not pull up, but mark its location and notify leader of dive team


  • Any member of the benthic/invert team maybe asked to perform algae counts

  • It is extremely important for every person on the invert team to be proficient on algae swath species and protocol