People from the Asian Pacific region were among the first in the world to utilize algae for various purposes. References to algae have been found in Chinese classic writings dating back some 2500 years ago. It is perhaps no surprise that the traditional focus on algae in the region has been on their potential as a resource. The Asian Pacific is now the world's largest algal production region. From freshwater to marine environments, from microalgae to macroalgae (seaweeds), through natural harvest or through farming or polyculture, in indoor tanks or outdoor ponds, algal biomass is being produced by the millions of tons annually. Not to mention all the other associated industries, from food manufacturing and chemical extraction to pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and industrial product development, the entire algae related industry is certainly one of the most vital in the region. There is a continued and sustained interest in the expanded use of algae and the application of algae as a tool in biotechnology. Not withstanding the focus on the economic potential of algae, there is also a greater focus on the role of algae in the environment, not simply as primary producers, but also as structuring forces in the community. There is the question of algae as sources of various toxins during algal blooms, as well as the potential of algae as scavengers of excess nutrients under eutrophication. More and more researchers have also turned to algae as a tool in experimental biology and as a model to understand biological phenomena. All this diversity in interests and focuses could only be linked together simply because they are all related to algae. Collected in this special volume are 36 invited and contributed papers first presented at the Second Asian Pacific Phycological Forum held at the Chinese University of Hong Kong at the turn of the century. These papers were subsequently updated to bring to fore the latest development in algal research in the Asian Pacific Region. This volume thus provides one of the most comprehensive pictures of advances in algal research in this part of the world.
From the reviews: "These proceedings of the second Asian Pacific Phycological Forum ! contain an anthology of peer-reviewed papers written by (mainly) phycologists working in Pacific Asia. ! The publication is well printed and bound and the figures are of good quality. ! both the surveys and the research papers contain information that has not been published elsewhere and it is useful to have this publication available." (Willem F. Prud'Homme Van Reine, Blumea, Vol. 50 (1), 2005)
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