Celebrating seaweed – a marine flora love affair

Acetabularia calyculus, Umbrella Alga. Image credit: Dr John Huisman

Mostly hidden beneath the waves, Australia’s marine plants have an impressive range of colours, shapes and textures.

Additional to their important ecological role, they have great potential for human use, either as food directly or in a range of industrial and agricultural processes, including as a stock feed supplement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr John Huisman. Image credit: University of Western Australia

Dr John Huisman, Curator of the Western Australian Herbarium (Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions) has dedicated his career to studying the classification of Western Australian seaweeds, particularly those in the North West and has done much to raise appreciation of the value and beauty of our state’s marine flora.


He has written nine books and over 200 articles and chapters describing various seaweed-related topics.


The cover and endpapers of Marine Plants of Australia feature artwork by Western Australian artist and biodiversity educator Angela Rossen. Image credit: UWA Publishing

His newly revised and updated third edition of Marine Plants of Australia published by UWA Publishing includes detailed descriptions and line drawings delving into the complexities of marine plants, serving as an invaluable identification guide for scientists, educators and nature enthusiasts keen to uncover the mysteries of our coastal ecosystems.


The book showcases more than 640 species of underwater plant life found in Australia’s coastal waters. The stunning cover artwork was created by artist and science communicator Angela Rossen from The University of Western Australia’s School of Biological Sciences and is a section of her eight-metre painting of South Cottesloe’s Elizabeth Reef.


Marine Plants of Australia is available at UWA Publishing and all good bookstores.