Program: Plant Science and Herbarium.

Status: Active

About the research project

This project involves systematic research into the Western Australian marine plants, an ecologically important but relatively poorly known component of flora.

It includes floristic studies of the marine plants of several existing and proposed marine parks and areas of commercial interest to provide baseline information that will enable a more comprehensive assessment of the Western Australian marine biodiversity.

The project is based on specimens collected for and maintained in the Western Australian Herbarium, with all data associated with the specimens, including species descriptions and images, available through Florabase.

In addition, an interactive key to the genera of Australian seaweeds is being prepared, which will enable positive identification of specimens and provide a user-friendly resource for non-experts. It will be of great value in systematic research, teaching, environmental and ecological research, environmental monitoring and quarantine procedures.

Research is currently focused on:

  • taxonomy of turf algae in the Perth region
  • new species and taxonomic revisions of taxa from across Western Australia

Management outcomes

Enhanced knowledge of marine plant species allows a more accurate assessment of management needs and potential impacts of environmental change, including change conferred by resource developments, biosecurity breaches and climate change.

Easier identification of marine plant species leads to a more comprehensive understanding of their conservation status, recognition of regions with high biodiversity and/or rare species, recognition of rare species, recognition of potentially introduced species, and discrimination of closely-related native species.


The project is ongoing with a future focus on:

  • further collection of marine plant specimens to add to the Herbarium and provide enhanced data regarding species abundance and distribution
  • further studies on taxonomically difficult or poorly known groups, incorporating molecular analyses where appropriate
  • formal description of newly discovered species

Project team

John Huisman Cheryle Parker Charlotte Ely
Herbarium Curator, Plant Science and Herbarium Technical Officer, Plant Science and Herbarium Technical Officer, Plant Science and Herbarium



Huisman, J.M. 2019. Marine Plants of Australia. Revised Edition. UWA Publishing, xviii + 435 pp.

Huisman, J.M. 2018. Algae of Australia: Marine Benthic Algae of North-western Australia, 2. Red Algae. ABRS, Canberra; CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne. xii + 672 pp.

Awarded the Prescott Award by the Phycological Society of America.

Huisman, J.M. 2015. Algae of Australia: Marine Benthic Algae of North-western Australia, 1. Green and Brown Algae. ABRS, Canberra; CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne. viii + 320 pp.

Wells, F.E., McDonald, J.I. & Huisman, J.M. 2009. Introduced Marine Species in Western Australia. Fisheries Occasional Publications No. 57, Dept of Fisheries, Perth. ii + 97 pp.

Huisman, J.M. 2006. Algae of Australia: Nemaliales. ABRS, Canberra. viii + 153 pp.

Huisman, J.M., Phillips, J. & Parker, C.M. 2006. Marine Plants of the Perth Region. Department of Environment and Conservation, Perth. 72 pp.

Journal publications

Rodríguez-Prieto, C., Huisman, J.M. & Lin, S.-M. 2022. Molecular phylogeny of foliose Halymenia and Austroepiphloea (Halymeniaceae, Rhodophyta) from the Indo-Pacific, with the description of Halymenia taiwanensis sp. nov. Phycologia 61: 384-395.

Huisman, J.M. & Saunders, G.W. 2022. Three new species of Asteromenia from Australia. Botanica Marina

Bearham, D., et al. [Huisman, J.M.]. 2022. Habitats and benthic biodiversity across a tropical estuarine-marine gradient in the eastern Kimberley region of Australia. Regional Studies in Marine Science 49: 102039.

Huisman, J.M. & Saunders, G.W. 2021. Resurrection of Plocamium pusillum Sonder (Plocamiaceae, Rhodophyta) from Australia. Cryptogamie, Algologie 42 (14): 231-239.

Townsend, R.A. & Huisman, J.M. 2021. Nomenclatural considerations of names associated with the euglenoid flagellate genera Strombomonas and Trachelomonas (Euglenaceae, Euglenophyceae) in Australia. Notulae Algarum No. 203: 1-56.

Huisman, J.M & Guiry, M.D. 2021. Recognition of Dichotomaria major (Decaisne) comb. nov. (Rhodophyta, Galaxauraceae) from Timor and Australia, based on Galaxaura major Decaisne. Notulae Algarum No. 201: 1-4.

Huisman, J.M., D’Archino, R., Nelson, W., Boo, S.M. & Petrocelli, A. 2021. Cryptic cryptogam revealed: Hypnea corona (Cystocloniaceae, Gigartinales), a new red algal species described from the Hypnea cornuta complex. Pacific Science 75(2): 263-268.

Huisman, J.M., Dixon, R.R.M., Townsend, R.A. & Belton, G.S. 2021. Diversity and distribution of marine benthic algae and seagrasses in the tropical Kimberley, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 85: 185-200.

Huisman, J.M. & Saunders, G.W. 2020. Out of the dark: Leptofauchea lucida (Faucheaceae, Rhodymeniales), a new red algal species from the Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia. Nuytsia 31: 163-167.

Walker, D.I., Huisman, J.M., Kilminster, K. & Kuo, J. 2020. New perspectives on Western Australian seagrass and macroalgal biogeography. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 103: 31-39.

Huisman, J.M. & Saunders, G.W. 2020. Champia patula (Champiaceae, Rhodymeniales), a new red algal species from the Perth region, Western Australia. Nuytsia 31: 65-68.

Huisman, J.M. & Verbruggen, H. 2020. Pseudoderbesia eckloniae sp. nov. (Bryopsidaceae, Ulvophyceae) from Western Australia. Cryptogamie, Algologie 41 (3): 19-23.

Belton, G.S., Draisma, G.A., Prud’homme van Reine, W.F., Huisman, J.M. & Gurgel, C.F.D. 2019. A taxonomic reassessment of Caulerpa (Chlorophyta, Caulerpaceae) in southern Australia based on tufA and rbcL sequence data. Phycologia 58: 234-253.

Bessey, C., Rule, M.J., Dasey, M., Brearley, A., Huisman, J.M., Wilson, S. & Kendrick, A.J. 2018. Geology is a significant indicator of algal cover and invertebrate species composition on intertidal reefs of Ngari Capes Marine Park, south-west Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 70: 270-279.

Townsend, R.A. & Huisman, J.M. 2018. Transfer of Oztralia gabrielsonii and Oztralia orbiculata to Dawsoniolithon (Corallinales, Rhodophyta) Notulae algarum No. 78: 1-2.

Rodríguez-Prieto, C., De Clerck, O., Huisman, J.M. & Lin, S.-M. 2018. Systematics of the red algal genus Halymenia (Halymeniaceae, Rhodophyta): characterization of the generitype H. floresii and description of Neofolia rosea gen. et sp. nov. European Journal of Phycology 53: 520-536.

Leliaert, F., Payo, D.A., Gurgel, C.F.D., Schils, T., Draisma, S.G.A., Saunders, G.W, Kamiya, M., Sherwood, A.R., Lin, S.-M., Huisman, J.M., Le Gall, L., Anderson, R.J., Bolton, J.J., Mattio,

L., Zubia, M., Spokes, T., Vieira, C., Payri, C.E., Coppejans, E., D'hondt, S., Verbruggen, H. & De Clerck, O. 2018. Patterns and drivers of species diversity in the Indo-Pacific red seaweed Portieria. Journal of Biogeography 45: 2299-2313.

Huisman, J.M., Boo, G.H. & Boo, S.M. 2018. The genus Rosenvingea (Phaeophyceae: Scytosiphonaceae) in south-west Australia, with the description of Rosenvingea australis sp. nov. Botanica Marina 61: 373-382.

Huisman, J.M., Kim, B. & Kim, M.S. 2017. The phylogenetic position of Polysiphonia scopulorum (Rhodomelaceae, Rhodophyta) based on sequence analyses and morphological observations of specimens from the type locality in Western Australia. Phytotaxa 324 (1): 51-62.

Huisman, J.M. & Guiry, M.D. 2017. Validation of the names Antithamnion subcorticatum Itono and Balliella subcorticata (Itono) Itono & Tak.Tanaka (Ceramiales, Rhodophyta). Notulae algarum No. 33: 1.

Saunders, G.W., Huisman, J.M., Vergés, A., Kraft, G.T. & Le Gall, L. 2017. Phylogenetic analyses support recognition of ten new genera, ten new species and 16 new combinations in the family Kallymeniaceae (Gigartinales, Rhodophyta). Cryptogamie, Algologie 38: 79-132.

Richards, Z., Kirkendale, L., Moore, G., Hosie, A., Huisman, J., Bryce, M., Marsh, L., Bryce, C., Hara, A., Wilson, N., Morrison, S., Gomez, O., Ritchie, J., Whisson, C., Allen, M., Betterridge, L., Wood, C., Morrison, M., Salotti, M., Hansen, G., Slack-Smith, S., Fromont, J. 2016. Marine biodiversity in temperate Western Australia: multi-taxon surveys of Minden and Roe Reefs. Diversity 2016, 8, 7; doi: 10.3390/d8020007.

Cremen, M.C.M., Huisman, J.M., Marcelino, V.R. & Verbruggen, H. 2016. Taxonomic revision of Halimeda (Bryopsidales, Chlorophyta) in south-western Australia. Australian Systematic Botany 29: 41-54.

Huisman, J.M., Saunders, G.W., Le Gall, L. & Vergés, A. 2016. Rhytimenia, a new genus of red algae based on the rare Kallymenia maculata (Kallymeniaceae, Rhodophyta). Phycologia 55: 299-307.

Huisman, J.M. Dixon, R.R.M., Hart, F.N., Verbruggen, H & Anderson, R. J. 2015. The South African estuarine specialist Codium tenue (Bryopsidales, Chlorophyta) discovered in a south-western Australian estuary. Botanica Marina 58: 511-521.

Huisman, J.M., Kendrick, A.J. & Rule, M.J. 2015. Mangrove-associated macroalgae and cyanobacteria in Shark Bay, Western Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 98: 45-68.

Cowan, R.A. & Huisman, J.M. 2015. Pyxidicula compressa J.W.Bailey: diatom or dinoflagellate? Taxon 64: 809-810.

Lin, S.-M., Rodríguez-Prieto, C., Huisman, J.M., Guiry, M.D., Payri, C., Nelson, W.A. & Liu, S.-L. 2015. A phylogenetic re-appraisal of the family Liagoraceae sensu lato (Nemaliales, Rhodophyta) based on sequence analyses of two plastid genes and post-fertilization development. Journal of Phycology 51: 546-559.

Huisman, J.M., Koh, Y.H. & Kim, M.S. 2015. Characterization of Herposiphonia pectinata (Decaisne) comb. nov. (Rhodomelaceae, Rhodophyta) from Western Australia, based on morphology and DNA barcoding. Botanica Marina 58: 141-150.

McDonald, J., Huisman, J.M., Hart, F.N., Dixon, R.R.M. & Lewis, J.A. 2015. The first detection of the invasive macroalga Codium fragile ssp. fragile in Western Australia. Bioinvasion Records 4: 75-80.

Huisman, J.M. & Sampey, A. 2014. Synthesis of historic marine species data for the Kimberley, Western Australia (1880s – 2009): Marine flora. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 84: 45-67.

Richards, Z.T. & Huisman, J.M. 2014. Coral-mimicking alga Eucheuma arnoldii found at Ashmore Reef. Coral Reefs 33: 441.

Dixon, R.R.M., Mattio, L., Huisman, J.M., Payri, C.E., Bolton, J.J., Gurgel, C.F. 2014. North meets south - Taxonomic and biogeographic implications of a phylogenetic assessment of Sargassum subgenera Arthrophycus and Bactrophycus. Phycologia 53: 15-22.

Belton, G.S., Prud’homme van Reine, W.F., Huisman J.M., Draisma S.G.A. & Gurgel C.F.D. 2014. Resolving phenotypic plasticity and species designation in the morphologically challenging Caulerpa racemosa–peltata complex (Chlorophyta, Caulerpaceae). Journal of Phycology 50: 32-54.

Harvey, A.S., Woelkerling, Wm J., Huisman, J.M. & Gurgel, C.F.D. 2013. A monographic account of Australian species of Amphiroa (Corallinaceae, Rhodophyta). Australian Systematic Botany 26: 81-144.

Wiriyadamrikul, J., Geraldino, P.J., Huisman, J.M., Lewmanomont, K. & Boo, S.-M. 2013. Molecular diversity of the calcified red algal genus Tricleocarpa (Galaxauraceae, Nemaliales) with the description of T. jejuensis and T. natalensis. Phycologia 52: 338-351.

Lin, S.-M., Yang. W.-J., Huisman, J.M., De Clerck, O. & Lee, W.K. 2013. Molecular phylogeny of the supposedly pantropical species Martensia fragilis (Delesseriaceae, Rhodophyta) from the Indo-Pacific regions including reveals three new species of Martensia from Taiwan. European Journal of Phycology 48: 173-187.

Lin, S.-M., Huisman, J.M. & Payri, C. 2013. Characterization of Liagora ceranoides (Liagoraceae, Rhodophyta) on the basis of rbcL sequence analyses and carposporophyte development, including Yoshizakia indopacifica gen. et sp. nov. from the Indo-Pacific region. Phycologia 52: 161-170.

Jongma, D.N., Campo, D., Dattolo, E., Duchi, A., Grewe, P., Huisman, J.M., Verlaque, M., Yokes, M.B. & Procaccini, G. 2013. Identity and origin of a slender Caulerpa taxifolia strain introduced into the Mediterranean Sea. Botanica Marina 56: 27-39.

Huisman, J.M. & Millar, A.J.K. 2013. Australian Seaweed Collections: Use and Misuse. Phycologia 52: 2-5.

Dixon, R.R.M., Huisman, J.M., Buchanan, J., Gurgel, C.F. & Spencer, P. 2012. A morphological and molecular study of austral Sargassum (Fucales, Phaeophyceae) supports the recognition of Phyllotricha at genus level, with further additions to the genus Sargassopsis. Journal of Phycology 48: 1119-1129.

Lin, S.-M., Yang. S.-Y. & Huisman, J.M. 2011. Systematics of Liagora with diffuse gonimoblasts based on rbcl sequences and carposporophyte development, including the description of the new genera Neoizziella and Macrocarpus (Liagoraceae, Rhodophyta). European Journal of Phycology 46: 249-262.

Keesing, J.K., Irvine, T.R., Alderslade, P., Clapin, G., Fromont, J., Hosie, A.M., Huisman, J.M., Phillips, J.C., Naughton, K.M., Marsh, L.M., Slack-Smith, S.M., Thomson, D.P. & Watson, J.E. 2011. Marine benthic flora and fauna of Gourdon Bay and the Dampier Peninsula in the Kimberley region of north-western Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 94: 285-301.

Huisman, J.M., Kendrick, A.J. & Rule, M.J. 2011. Benthic algae and seagrasses of the Walpole and Nornalup Inlets Marine Park, Western Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 94: 29-44.

Huisman, J.M., De Clerck, O., Prud’homme van Reine, W.F. & Borowitzka, M.A. 2011. Spongophloea, a new genus of red algae based on Thamnoclonium sect. Nematophorae Weber-van Bosse (Halymeniales). European Journal of Phycology 46: 1-15.

Parnell, J.A.N., Womersley, H.B.S., Sinkora, D., Vaughan, A. & Huisman, J.M. 2010. W.H. Harvey’s Australian Travelling Sets of Algae in the Herbarium of Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and the National Herbarium of Victoria (MEL), Australia. Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 110B: 119-161.

Popular articles and information sheets

Huisman, J.M. 2022. Look out for… Asparagopsis. Bushland News 124 Summer 2022-23: 26.

Huisman, J.M. 2022. Discovered: Vaucheria, a yellow-green seaweed. Landscope 38(2): 41.

Huisman, J.M. 2022. Touched by Nature: William Henry Harvey, the ‘father of Australian phycology’. Landscope 37(3): 34-39.

Huisman, J.M. & Saunders, G.W. 2022. Discovered: Asteromenia Landscope 37(3): 40.

Huisman, J.M. 2019. Parasitic seaweed. Landscope 35(1): 22-24.

Huisman, J.M., Kirkendale, L. & Wilson, N. 2019. Discovered: Caliphylla, the green thief. Landscope 34(4): 11.

Huisman, J.M. 2018. I see red… Landscope 34(2): 12-17.

Huisman, J.M. 2016. Discovered: Century old seaweed resurfaces. Landscope 31(4): 10.

Huisman, J.M. 2015. Sunken Treasures. Landscope 31(2): 22-24.

Huisman, J.M. 2015. A Hidden World. Landscope 30(3): 23-25



John Huisman

Herbarium Curator, Plant Science and Herbarium