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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 9, 2019

The seaweed resources of Portugal

Rui Gaspar ORCID logo, Leonel Pereira ORCID logo and Isabel Sousa-Pinto ORCID logo
From the journal Botanica Marina


Continental Portugal and its two archipelagos (Azores Islands and Madeira Islands) present a very interesting and diverse seaweed community. Its great diversity results for example from different environmental conditions such as the latitudinal gradients that affect the continental Portugal coastal shoreline in unique ways. The first Portuguese phycological studies published date from the end of the 18th century and seaweeds have been harvested to be used as fertilizer since at least the 14th century. However, Portuguese seaweeds are still a natural and valuable resource that is relatively under explored or studied, particularly regarding its economic potential. Although Portugal was one of the world’s main agar producers in the past, the sustainability of its seaweed exploitation was overlooked. Contemporary awareness of this valuable resource might bring together role players such as researchers and industries towards innovative and sustainable practices (such as to make use of non-indigenous species that have been registered in the country). Nowadays, almost all Portuguese higher education institutions currently have research groups dedicated to studies related to seaweeds (ranging from ecological and environmental assessment studies to seaweed aquaculture, uses and applications). This work addresses the diversity of Portuguese seaweeds and its main economic aspects.


This work had the support of Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), through the strategic project UID/MAR/04292/2019 granted to MARE. Also co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg Atlantic Area Programme, under the project NASPA (EAPA_451/2016), the project EASME, funder id:, Blue Labs – AMALIA (Algae-toMAket Lab IdeAs) (EASME/EMFF/2016/, the project funder id:, H2020 GENIALG – GENetic diversity exploitation for Innovative macro-ALGal biorefinery (H2020-BG-2016-12017-2021) and the project MARINE INVADERS (PTDC/MAR-EST/6226/2014).


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Article note

This article is part of the special issue series of Botanica Marina: Seaweed resources of the world: a 2020 vision, which has started publication in Botanica Marina 2019, vol. 62, issue 3. The series is guest-edited by Alan T. Critchley, Anicia Hurtado, Leonel Pereira, Melania Cornish, Danilo Largo and Nicholas Paul.

Received: 2019-02-06
Accepted: 2019-08-14
Published Online: 2019-09-09
Published in Print: 2019-09-25

©2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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