Juneau researchers publish book on seaweeds

Posted: Monday, October 18, 2010

Books about seaweeds aren't a common sight on bookstore shelves so two local authors took it upon themselves to change that.

Specialists Mandy Lindeberg and Sandra Lindstrom have just published "Field Guide to Seaweeds of Alaska." As the subject is something both women share a passion for, a book about the water algae is a logical step.

"It was so nice to be able to do this with Mandy. She has real enthusiasm for seaweeds," Lindstrom said.

The two have worked together on various projects collecting seaweeds for years.

Both are quite passionate about these studies. Yet one of their biggest inspirations for the book was the limited exposure to knowledge that's currently available.

They said there just aren't books out there on this subject and many in Alaska may not realize the various species that are present right here.

Lindeberge said this was a way to expose the world to various seaweeds. She said there are more than 500 species in this state alone.

About 100 of these species are described with full-color photographs.

"I took about 80 percent of the photographs. The rest were donated," said Lindeberge. Some of the photographs came from NOAA and UAF.

Lindstrom said her partner's photography skills added to her aptitude as a co-author.

The authors said identification is also a problem.

"I've had lots of people ask me to write about this because they get frustrated trying to identify seaweeds. There's complaining that they're never the way they look in books," Lindeberge said. She hopes the descriptions and photos will help that.

Lindstrom said that, this being a field guide, it's designed to help the layperson pick out species in a natural habitat.

Lindeberge lives in Juneau and is a fisheries research biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She's been conducting research on seaweeds, intertidal invertebrates, oiled shorelines and bioavailability surveys for 20 years.

Lindstrom does independent research and consulting, identifying seaweeds for environmental surveys. At the University of British Columbia she got her master's in marine ecology and Ph.D. in botany with a specialty in phycology.

She was born and raised in Juneau and now lives in British Columbia.

"I hope people will use it and take it to the beach and learn about seaweeds," Lindeberge said. "I hope they'll want to learn about them like we do."

"Field Guide to Seaweeds of Alaska" is published by the Alaska Sea Grant Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

More information can be found at www.seaweedsofalaska.com.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or at jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.

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