First report of Cystoseira aurantia Kützing from the Mediterranean coast of Morocco.
Algal diversity in aquatic environments can help assess the health status of ecosystems, provide information about invasions of new species and inform species diversity changes according to environmental conditions. An algal diversity survey (2016-19) of Nador Lagoon (northern Morocco) revealed the presence for the first time of the brown alga Cystoseira aurantia. Since 2015 this alga has been found in high abundance in the northwestern part of the lagoon, mainly around Attalayoun and Nador City. The thalli of larger specimens reached 60 cm in length, and all plants present were free-floating. The species was collected from the water surface to depths not exceeding 2 cm. Floating patches were usually found suspended above sandy and muddy substrates. Increased abundance of this species in the lagoon corresponds with new physico-chemical conditions and ecological parameters, principally resulting from increased water ventilation and improved water quality since 2012. The new communities of C. aurantia may offer a novel resource for the lagoon but high abundance could pose future threats to attached vegetation such as seagrasses and benthic algae by shading and the accumulation of organic detritus. Attention is drawn to taxonomic issues involving C. aurantia.