Forty-five of the 107 species of marine benthic algae collected during 2004 and 2006 NOAA cruises to isolated Johnston Atoll and two additional species from earlier collections represent new species records. Total number of algae is now increased to 189 species: 26 species of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), 105 species of red algae, 15 species of brown algae, and 43 species of green algae. The macroalga Caulerpa serrulata and the epiphyte Lomentaria hakodatensis were the most widely distributed species at Johnston Atoll based on frequency of occurrence at 10 of 12 stations and 8 of 12 stations, respectively, during the 2004 NOAA cruise. Despite the atoll's isolation, the parasitic red alga Neotenophycus ichthyosteus and the cyanobacterium Borzia elongata are the only endemic algal species on Johnston Atoll. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling analyses indicate that taxonomic affinities of Johnston Atoll lie between French Frigate Shoals and Wake Atoll. In terms of atolls, biodiversity of the marine flora of Johnston Atoll (i.e., 189 species) is surpassed only by the 256 algal species of the much-larger and better-studied Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
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Vol. 64 • No. 4