The purpose of this book is to provide a manual for the identification of the sea-
weeds along the southeastern Atlantic coast of the United States.
as a field guide and laboratory manual for professional and amateur biologists
with an interest in the identification of marine plants. The emphasis is therefore
on keys, descriptions, and illustrations. Many of the larger, more distinctive sea-
weeds will be recognizable simply from the illustrations; more difficult taxa will
require study of the keys and descriptions. Background and practical informa-
tion are included in the introductory sections.
The genesis of this book was a joint effort by the authors to investigate the
seaweed flora of the deep offshore waters of the Carolinas in the early 1970s.
One of the joys of our research was the investigation of the offshore "reefs" and
shipwrecks by SCUBA diving. The opportunity to collect while swimming over
rock outcroppings never seen before by phycologists or, in most cases, any divers
was a unique opportunity that allowed us to explore a special wilderness at our
doorstep. At the beginning of our collaboration the only comprehensive report of
the seaweeds for the Carolinas was Hoyt's 1920 publication on the marine algae
of Beaufort, N.C. During the course of our studies Donald Kapraun published
his accounts of the nearshore flora of the Carolinas, but the richness of the off-
shore waters indicated to us that a comprehensive account of both inshore and
offshore seaweeds was needed. At the same time, we began to collect plants in
Georgia and realized that with a few additions we could extend the geographic
coverage of our book throughout the natural biogeographic region defined by
Cape Hatteras and Cape Canaveral. Included in the flora are over
green, golden brown, brown, and red seaweeds. Faced with the scope of this
project and our own limitations of time, energy, and expertise, we chose not
to incorporate the Cyanobacteria and vascular flowering plants that grow in the
marine and estuarine waters of the region.
The coastal waters of the southeastern United States are a valuable resource,
both regionally and nationally. In order to safeguard that resource, we need to
know the biological components of the region and understand their interactions.
The seaweeds are one of the critical elements in the biological communities in
the estuaries and ocean waters of the region, and we hope that this book will
make people more aware of these plants, make the plants easier to identify, and
stimulate additional studies of them for years to come.