| The exact placement of the Rhodophyta is currently unknown, but is/are sometimes considered as a plant or plants.
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Illustration of V. bennettiana by William Henry Harvey.
|Naming and discovery|
Vanvoorstia bennettiana (Bennett's Seaweed) is an extinct species of red alga in the Delesseriaceae family. It was native to Australia before its extinction in the late 19th century. It was named after naturalist, George Bennett.
V. bennettiana was a small red alga. Like other members of the Vanvoorstia genus, V. bennettiana did not have major differences in morphology throughout any phase of its life cycle. It can be easily distinguished from other Vanvoorstia by its small size and the structure of its reproductive organs. The overall structure of Bennett's Seaweed is that of a blade with fine meshing. For much of the time the species was extant, it was fairly common.
It has only been found in two localities; both in or near Sydney Harbour. One was near eastern Spectacle Island, where it was discovered between May 1 and May 15, 1855. The other was a channel between Point Piper and Shark Island, where several specimens were collected in 1886.
Since the discovery of 'V. bennettiana, Sydney Harbour has been massively altered by human activities. These activities greatly increased the siltation level in Sydney Harbour. Fine-meshed algal species are very vulnerable to this type of disturbance because the particulate matter can clog the blade and prevent light from reaching the alga in order to form photosynthesis.
Arthur Lucas led a search in 1916 to find some of the species, but had failed. Since it was only found in two places, V. bennettiana was already extinct by then. The causes of the plant's extinction were human disturbance, habitat destruction, and pollution. Searches along the entire coastline of New South Wales failed to locate the species.
- Claudea bennettiana
- Sonderia bennettiana