Phycology in Chile
12th International Phycological Congress - IPC2021
The southern coast of Chile is a labyrinth of fjords, sounds, channels, twisting peninsulas, and islands. Chilean taxa inhabit a wide variety of environments with high levels of endemism and therefore exhibit ample morphological variation.
Southern Chile presents unique algal biodiversity, interesting species to view and collect as well as the applied/industrial development that the country offers in the field of phycology Kelp forests are present along most of the coast, sustaining diverse marine communities and providing up to 10% of the world’s demand for the polysaccharide industry. Traditional, small-scale cultivation of Gracilaria chilensis, as well as the harvesting of several other species for direct consumption, like the Southern bull kelp, a.k.a. “Cochayuyo”, and Pyropia spp. or “Luche”. Also, the carragenophytes Sarcothalia crispata and Gigartina skottsbergii are harvested and processed. Microalgae production occurs in the north part of the country for carotene production, and harmful algal blooms have become a serious problem in Patagonia, demanding attention from phycologists.