Updates to the Marine Algal Flora of the Boulder Patch in the Beaufort Sea off Northern Alaska as Revealed by DNA Barcoding + Supplementary Appendix 1 (See Article Tools)





Arctic benthic algae, Alaskan Beaufort Sea, DNA barcoding, Boulder Patch


Since its discovery four decades ago, the Boulder Patch kelp bed community in the Beaufort Sea has been an important site for long-term ecological studies in northern Arctic Alaska. Given the difficulties associated with identifying species of marine algae on the basis of morphology, we sought to DNA barcode a portion of the flora from the area and update a recently published species list. Genetic data were generated for 20 species in the area. Fifty-five percent of the barcoded flora confirmed the morphological species identifications. Five barcoded species revealed what are likely misapplied names to the Boulder Patch flora; the updated names include Ahnfeltia borealis, Phycodrys fimbriata, Pylaiella washingtoniensis, Rhodomela lycopodioides f. flagellaris, and Ulva prolifera. The remaining four species require taxonomic work and possibly represent new records for the Boulder Patch. Our observations indicate that we need considerably more research to understand marine macroalgal biodiversity in the Arctic. Supplementing Arctic species lists using genetic data will be essential in establishing an accurate and reliable baseline for monitoring changes in ecosystem biodiversity driven by long-term changes in regional climate.