Alabama is a hotspot of aquatic biodiversity, with a high diversity of freshwater snails, mussels, fish, crayfish, and turtles. However, much of our biodiversity remains enigmatic. One group of organisms we lack critical information about are freshwater red macroalgae. Though rarely truly red in color, they provide food and habitat for macroinvertebrates and may serve as indicators of good water quality. However, they are not included in current biodiversity surveys in Alabama. To better understand the ecological role and potential usefulness of these algae as bioindicators, we first need to figure out where to find them.
Citizen scientists can help us catalogue Alabama's freshwater red algal biodiversity by collecting samples and/or by submitting photographs of streams, so that we can assess which streams are accessible for sampling and harbor potential red algal habitat.