Chapter 2: Identifying Pacific Seaweeds

For the sake of simplicity, we provide only general information for the range distribution of each species and limit ourselves to the Northeast Pacific. Most known ranges in distribution probably understate the real distribution for a given seaweed species, and species are often discovered where they have not been seen previously. To assist you in remembering scientific names, we have included translations of the Latin and Greek names, though some of these translations would make a classics scholar squirm. Also, when available, common names are provided. The higher taxonomic levels of class, order and family for each seaweed species, as outlined by AlgaeBase and the book Keys to the Seaweeds and Seagrasses of Southeast Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon, are included as well.

To identify a seaweed species with this book:

  1. Scan the Thumbnail Identification Guide until you find a description that fits your specimen.
  2. Visit the section listed and compare your specimen with the description, photo and/or illustration in the text.
  3. If the text and/or photo do not fit your specimen, continue down the Thumbnail Guide to further narrow your search.


Thumbnail Identification Guide

Shore Plants


Green Seaweeds

Red Seaweeds

Brown Seaweeds



Next: Chapter 3: Seaweed Ecology

Back to Chapter 1: About Seaweeds