The macroalgal flora associated with rhodolith beds in the Bay of Islands, northeastern North Island, was investigated as part of the first detailed study of subtidal rhodoliths in New Zealand. The rhodolith beds differed in their physical characteristics and in the dominant rhodolith-forming species present, one bed with clear water and predominantly Lithothamnion crispatum rhodoliths, and the other bed with turbid water, and Sporolithon durum rhodoliths covered by fine sediments. One hundred and three taxa were identified (12 green, 24 brown and 67 red algae), with similar numbers of taxa found in the two seasons sampled. The floral composition at the two beds differed significantly. The flora included range extensions for species previously reported within New Zealand (e.g. Cutleria multifida), new records for the New Zealand region (at family, genus and species levels — e.g. Dumontiaceae, Cutleria, Dictyota, Peyssonnelia spp), and new discoveries (e.g. Halymenia sp., Grateloupia sp., Tsengia sp.). Two species with a partially prostrate growth habit, Caulerpa flexilis and Chondracanthus chapmanii, were present in both beds consolidating rhodoliths and shell debris.
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