Alison Sherwood

Professor and Chair of Botany


Professor and Chair of Botany


PhD 2001, University of Guelph

Contact Information
Phone: (808) 956-3930 or (808) 956-4115

Link to Laboratory Site

Graduate Faculty Memberships
Botany, EECB, Marine Biology

Research Interests

Algal Biodiversity – diversity, phylogeography, systematics, evolution and ecology of the marine, freshwater and terrestrial algal floras of the Hawaiian Islands

The Hawaiian islands are a unique location for the study of biodiversity, adaptive radiation and island biogeography. Research in my lab is concentrated on the systematics of various algal lineages in the Hawaiian islands, their mechanisms of spread, and their phylogenetic relationships.

Selected Publications

Airborne Algae

Singh, H.W., Wade, R.M. & A.R. Sherwood. 2018. Diurnal patterns of airborne algae in the Hawaiian Islands: a preliminary study. Aerobiologia 34: 363-373.

Sherwood, A.R., Dittbern, M.N., Johnston, E.T. & K.Y. Conklin. 2017. A metabarcoding comparison of windward and leeward airborne algal diversity across the Ko‘olau Mountain Range on the island of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i. Journal of Phycology 53: 437-445.

Sherwood, A.R., Conklin, K.Y. & Z.J. Liddy. 2014. What’s in the air? Preliminary analyses of Hawaiian airborne algae reveal a diverse and abundant flora. Phycologia 52: 579-582.

Algal genomics:

Campbell, M., Presting, G.G., Bennett, M. & A.R. Sherwood. 2014. Complete chloroplast and mitochondrial genomic sequences of the Hawaiian invasive red alga Gracilaria salicornia (Rhodophyta). Phycologia 53: 109-116.

Biodiversity survey summaries:

Sherwood, A.R., Carlile, A.L., Vaccarino, M.A. & Johansen, J.R. 2015. Characterization of Hawaiian freshwater and terrestrial cyanobacteria reveals high diversity and numerous putative endemics. Phycological Research 63: 85-92.

Sherwood, A.R., Carlile, A.L., Neumann, J.M., Kociolek, J.P., Johansen, J.R., Lowe, R.L., Conklin, K.Y. & G.G. Presting. 2014. The Hawaiian Freshwater Algae Biodiversity Survey (2009-2014): systematic and biogeographic trends with an emphasis on the macroalgae. BMC Ecology 14: 28.

Wagner, D., Kosaki, R.K., Spalding, H.L., Whitton, R., Pyle, R.L., Sherwood, A.R., Tsuda, R.T. & Calcinai, B. 2014. Mesophotic surveys of the flora and fauna at Johnston Atoll, Central Pacific Ocean. Marine Biodiversity Records 7: e68.

Sherwood, A.R., Kurihara, A., Conklin, K.Y., Sauvage, T. & G.G. Presting. 2010. The Hawaiian Rhodophyta Biodiversity Survey (2006-2010): a summary of principal findings. BMC Plant Biology 10: 258.

Sherwood, A.R., Sauvage, T., Kurihara, A., Conklin, K.Y. & G.G. Presting. 2010. A comparative analysis of COI, LSU and UPA marker data for the Hawaiian florideophyte Rhodophyta: implications for DNA barcoding of red algae. Cryptogamie, Algologie 31: 451-465.

Sherwood, A.R. 2007. Where are we now regarding Hawaiian stream algal systematics? (A suspiciously cosmopolitan flora). Symposium on the Biology of Hawaiian Streams and Estuaries, April 2005, Bishop Museum Bulletin in Cultural and Environmental Studies 3: 195-206.

Sherwood, A.R. 2006. Stream macroalgae of the Hawaiian islands: a floristic survey. Pacific Science 60:191-205.

Biological databases:

Sherwood, A.R., Wang, N., Carlile, A.L., Neumann, J.M., Wolfgruber, T.K. & G.G. Presting. 2012. The Hawaiian Freshwater Algal Database (HfwADB): a laboratory LIMS and online biodiversity resource. BMC Ecology 12: 22.

Wang, N., Sherwood, A.R., Kurihara, A., Conklin, K.Y., Sauvage, T. & G.G. Presting. 2009. The Hawaiian Algal Database: a laboratory LIMS and online resource for biodiversity data. BMC Plant Biology 9: 117.

Molecular methods for algal biodiversity characterization:

Wade, R.M. & Sherwood, A.R. 2017. Molecular determination of kleptoplast origins from the sea slug Plakobranchus ocellatus (Sacoglossa, Gastropoda) reveals cryptic bryopsidalean diversity in the Hawaiian Islands. Journal of Phycology 53: 467-475.

Conklin, K., Kurihara, A. & A.R. Sherwood. 2009. A molecular method for identification of the morphologically plastic invasive algal species Eucheuma denticulatum and Kappaphycus spp. (Rhodophyta, Gigartinales) in Hawaii. Journal of Applied Phycology 21: 691-699.

Sherwood, A.R., Vis, M.L., Entwisle, T.J., Necchi, O., Jr., & G. G. Presting. 2008. Contrasting intra- versus inter-species DNA sequence variation for representatives of the Batrachospermales (Rhodophyta). Phycological Research 56: 269-279.

Sherwood, A.R., Chan, Y. & G.G. Presting. 2008. Application of universal plastid primers to environmental sampling of a Hawaiian stream periphyton community. Molecular Ecology Resources 8: 1011-1014.

Sherwood, A.R. & G.G. Presting. 2007. Universal primers amplify a 23S rDNA plastid marker in eukaryotic algae and cyanobacteria. Journal of Phycology 43: 605-608.

Novel diversity and characterization of Hawaiian taxa:

Johnston, E.T., Conklin, K.Y., Frederik, P. & A.R. Sherwood. Pyrosequencing and culturing studies of Hawaiian corticulous biofilms demonstrate high algal diversity and confirm phylogenetic affinities of the green alga, Spongiochrysis hawaiiensis (Ulvophyceae). (In press, Phycologia).

Sherwood, A.R., Neumann, J.M., Dittbern-Wang, M. & K.Y. Conklin. 2018. Diversity of the green algal genus Spirogyra (Conjugatophyceae) in the Hawaiian Islands. Phycologia 57: 331-344.

Rousseau, F., Gey, D., Kurihara, A., Maggs, C., Martin-Lescanne, J., Payri, C., de Reviers, B., Sherwood, A. & L. Le Gall. 2017. Molecular phylogenies support taxonomic revision of three species of Laurencia (Rhodomelaceae, Rhodophyta). European Journal of Taxonomy 269: 1-19.

Wainwright, B.J., Zahn, G.L., Spalding, H.L., Sherwood, A.R., Smith, C.M. & A.S. Amend. 2017. Fungal associations with mesophotic macroalgae from the ‘Au‘au Channel, West Maui. PeerJ 5:e3532.

Miscoe, L.H., Johansen, J.R., Kociolek, J.P., Lowe, R.L., Vaccarino, M., Pietrasiak, N. & A.R. Sherwood. 2016. The diatom flora and cyanobacteria from caves in Kauai, Hawaii. Taxonomy, distribution, new species. Bibliotheca Phycologica, volume 120, 448 figs, 2 tabs, 152 pp.

Spalding, H.S., Conklin, K.Y., Smith, C.M., O’Kelly, C.J. & A.R. Sherwood. 2016. New Ulvaceae (Ulvophyceae, Chlorophyta) from mesophotic ecosystems across the Hawaiian Archipelago. Journal of Phycology 52: 40-53.

Tsuda, R.T., Spalding, H.L. & A.R. Sherwood. 2015. New species records of marine benthic algae at Papahanoumokuakea Marine National Monument (Northwestern Hawaiian Islands). Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey 116: 41-47.

Kociolek, J.P., Stepanek, J.G., Lowe, R.L., Johansen, J.R. & A.R. Sherwood. 2013. Molecular data show the enigmatic cave-dwelling diatom Diprora (Bacillariophyceae) to be a raphid diatom. European Journal of Phycology 48: 474-484.

Carlile, A.L. & A.R. Sherwood. 2013. Phylogenetic affinities and biogeography of the Hawaiian freshwater red algae (Rhodophyta). Phycologia 52: 309-319.

Sherwood, A.R. & A.L. Carlile. 2012. Schimmelmannia (Acrosymphytales, Rhodophyta) – the first report of the genus in Hawaii. Pacific Science 66: 529-533.

Kurihara, A., West, J.A., Conklin, K.Y. & A.R. Sherwood. 2012. A second species of Rhodachlya (Rhodachlyales, Rhodophyta) from Hawaii, with a description of R. hawaiiana sp. nov. Cryptogamie, Algologie 33: 21-33.

Conklin, K.Y. & A.R. Sherwood. 2012. Molecular and morphological variation of the red alga Spyridia filamentosa (Ceramiales, Rhodophyta) in the Hawaiian Archipelago. Phycologia 51: 347-357.

Carlile, A.L., O’Kelly, C.J. & A.R. Sherwood. 2011. The green algal genus Cloniophora represents a novel lineage in the Ulvales:  a proposal for Cloniophoraceae fam. nov.  Journal of Phycology 47: 1379-1387.

O’Kelly, C.J., Kurihara, A., Shipley, T. & A.R. Sherwood. 2010. Molecular assessment of the species of Ulva (Ulvophyceae, Chlorophyta) in the Hawaiian Islands. Journal of Phycology 46: 728-735.

Kurihara, A., Abe, T., Tani, M. & A.R. Sherwood. 2010. Molecular phylogeny and evolution of red algal parasites: a case study of Benzaitenia, Janczewskia and Ululania. Journal of Phycology 46: 580-590.

Sherwood, A.R., Kurihara, A. & K.Y. Conklin. 2011. Molecular diversity of Amansieae (Ceramiales, Rhodophyta) from the Hawaiian Islands: a multi-marker assessment reveals unexpected diversity within Amansia glomerata. Phycological Research 59: 16-23.

Sherwood, A.R. 2008. Phylogeography of Asparagopsis taxiformis (Bonnemaisoniales, Rhodophyta) in the Hawaiian Islands: two mtDNA markers support three separate introductions. Phycologia 47: 79-88.

Rindi, F., McIvor, L., Sherwood, A.R., Friedl, T., Guiry, M.D. & R.G. Sheath. 2007. Global phylogeny of the green algal order Prasiolales (Trebouxiophyceae, Chlorophyta). Journal of Phycology 43: 811-822.

O’Doherty, D. & A.R. Sherwood. 2007. Genetic population structure of the Hawaiian alien invasive seaweed, Acanthophora spicifera (Rhodophyta) as revealed by DNA sequencing and ISSR analyses. Pacific Science 61: 223-233.

Rindi, F., López-Bautista, J.M., Sherwood, A.R. & M.D. Guiry. 2006. Morphology and phylogenetic position of Spongiochrysis hawaiiensis gen. et sp. nov., the first known terrestrial member of the Cladophorales. International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 56:913-922.

Rindi, F., Sherwood, A.R. & M.D. Guiry. 2005. Taxonomy and distribution of Trentepohlia and Printzina (Trentepohliales, Chlorophyta) in the Hawaiian Islands. Phycologia 44: 270-284.

Ecology of Hawaiian algal systems:

Sherwood, A.R. & K.M. Coontz. 2009. Spatial and temporal changes in macroalgal diversity of a Hawaiian stream with the return of previously diverted water. Algological Studies 131: 115-134.