Biodiversity Science ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (11): 1223-1235.doi: 10.17520/biods.2018080

• Review • Previous Article     Next Article

Algal diversity and their importance in ecological processes in typical mangrove ecosystems

Yu Gao1, 2, 3, Guanghui Lin1, 2, 3, *()   

  1. 1 Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modeling, Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084
    2 Joint Center for Global Change Studies, Beijing 100875
    3 Division of Marine Sciences & Technology, Graduate School at Shenzhen, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen, Guangdong 518055;
  • Received:2018-03-19 Accepted:2018-05-18 Online:2019-01-08
  • Lin Guanghui
  • About author:

    # Co-first authors

Algae are important flora in mangrove ecosystems. Algae can be divided into three ecological groups, namely phytoplankton, benthic microalgae, and macroalgae in mangrove ecosystems, which play important roles in organic carbon production and nutrient cycle. Despite the importance of algae for ecosystem function, studies of mangrove ecosystems have focused on higher plants and animals, with few studies of algae. Due to their abundance in mangrove ecosystems, studies of algae can broaden our understanding about the structure and function of mangrove ecosystems. In this review, we first briefly introduce algal groups and their ecological importance in mangrove ecosystems. Then, we emphasize species composition and geographical distribution of phytoplankton, benthic diatoms and macroalgae, and their importance in key ecological processes such as primary production, water pollution, element cycle, and carbon stock dynamics in mangrove ecosystem. The researches have showed that the species number of phytoplankton and benthic diatoms in mangroves varied from dozens to hundreds, and diatoms are dominant both in species composition and abundance, which are important primary producer, animal food, and pollution indicator. Macroalgae are mainly composed of red algae, green algae, brown algae and blue-green algae. Green algae are dominant in species richness whereas red algae are abundant in quantity. Algae contribute significantly to the carbon pool by sequestering and cycling carbon. We propose that future studies should focus on algal diversity and its role in ecological processes in mangrove ecosystems. Furthermore, we suggest that studies of algae should be part of comprehensive investigations on long-term ecosystem dynamics. The influence of continental runoff and tidal patterns on algal diversity and blue carbon dynamics in mangrove areas also deserve more attention, on account of being directly related to nutrient replenishment and dynamics. Since algal diversity in mangrove sediment is influenced by physico-chemical and biological condition of the system, it could be used as an indicator of climate change and effects of anthropogenic activity on mangrove ecosystems.

Key words: phytoplankton, benthic algae, mangrove forest, species composition, geographical distribution

Table 1

Phytoplankton composition and abundance (103 cells/L) in different mangrove waters based on international studies"

Table 2

Phytoplankton composition and abundance (103 cells/L) in different mangrove waters in China"

Sampling site
Latitude and longitude
采样时间Sampling time 总种类数Total taxa number 种类组成 Species composition 平均细胞丰度 Mean cell
Futian, Shenzhen
22°32° N, 113°45°-
114°03° E
1994 111 硅藻82种, 绿藻4种, 蓝藻4种, 裸藻17种, 隐藻2种, 金藻2种
82 species of Bacillariophyta, 4 species of Chlorophyta,
4 species of Cyanophyta, 17 species of Euglenophyta,
2 species of Cryptophyta, and 2 species of Chrysophyta.
Liu & Chen, 1997
Futian, Shenzhen
22°32° N,
114°03° E
2001-2003 75 硅藻68种, 甲藻1种, 绿藻3种, 蓝藻1种, 裸藻3种
68 species of Bacillariophyta, 1 species of Pyrrophyta,
2 species of Chlorophyta, 1 species of Cyanophyta, and
3 species of Euglenophyta.
Chen et al, 2005a
Futian, Shenzhen
22°32° N, 113°45°-
114°03° E
2005-2006 51 硅藻34种, 绿藻5种, 蓝藻7种, 裸藻3种, 隐藻2种
34 species of Bacillariophyta, 5 species of Chlorophyta,
7 species of Cyanophyta, 3 species of Euglenophyta, and
2 species of Cryptophyta.
Wang et al, 2007, 2009
广西英罗湾Yingluo Bay, Guangxi Province 21°28° N, 109°43° E 1992 97 硅藻93种, 甲藻3种, 蓝藻1种
93 species of Bacillariophyta, 3 species of Pyrrophyta,
and 1 species of Cyanophyta.
Chen et al, 1993
福建云霄漳江口 Zhangjiang River Estuary, Yunxiao, Fujian Province 23°53°-
23°56° N, 117°24°-
117°30° E
2001-2003 87 硅藻75种, 甲藻2种, 绿藻4种, 蓝藻3种, 裸藻2种, 金藻1种
75 species of Bacillariophyta, 2 species of Pyrrophyta,
4 species of Chlorophyta, 3 species of Cyanophyta,
2 species of Euglenophyta, and 1 species of Chrysophyta.
351 Chen et al, 2007
福建福鼎后屿湾Houyu Bay, Fuding, Fujian Province 26°55°-
27°26° N, 119°55°-
120°43° E
2001-2003 77 硅藻74种, 甲藻1种, 绿藻1种, 裸藻1种
74 species of Bacillariophyta, 1 species of Pyrrophyta,
1 species of Chlorophyta, and 1 species of Euglenophyta.
320 Chen et al, 2005b
福建九龙江口Jiulong River Estuary, Fujian Province 24°29° N, 117°23° E 2001-2003 96 硅藻90种, 绿藻3种, 蓝藻1种, 裸藻1种, 金藻1种
90 species of Bacillariophyta, 3 species of Chlorophyta,
1 species of Cyanophyta, 1 species of Euglenophyta, and
1 species of Chrysophyta.
550 Chen, 2004
Pearl River Estuary, Guangdong Province
22°43.4°- 22°43.9° N, 113°45.7°-
113°46.3° E
2008-2010 165 1,050-374,430 Huang et al, 2012
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