Champia parvula (C. Agardh) Harvey
Barrel Weed (Champia parvula) is a red alga with a very broad geographic range extending from the tropics into the cold temperate zone in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans (Orfanidis and Breeman 1999; Guiry and Guiry 2010).
According to Abbott and Dawson (1978), Champia salicornioides (which in the United States may occur in Florida) is similar in appearance to C. parvula, but C. salicornioides has stronger constrictions.
Morphological examination of sympatrically growing specimens that appeared to be Champia parvula collected as seagrass epiphytes led to the recognition of a new Champia species. The new species resembles type specimens of C. parvula, differing mainly in branching pattern (opposite vs. typically alternate) and branch origin (between the septa vs. nodal region), number of axes arising from holdfasts (4 to 7 vs. 1 or more), and gametophytes are monoecious (bisexual) or dioecious (separate sexes) . On the basis of analyses of small ribosomal subunit and rubisco large subunit (rbcL) gene sequences, the new species, named Champia puertoricensis, was found to be distinct from its sympatric partner. (Lozada-Troche and Ballantine 2010)
Champia parvula is a small (only 3 to 8 cm long) red alga, with rather short, alternate tapered branches. It often attaches to larger seaweeds and appears as a bushy, coarsely branching, dull red-brown plant. It has a "crispy" gelatinous texture and upon close examination can be seen to be made up of a series of slightly constricted cask-shaped hollow segments. (Lee 1986)
Champia parvula is a small (to 10 cm) multibranched red alga with constricted pink or red filaments (Kaplan 1988).
Champia parvula is small (to 7.5 cm tall) and bushy in appearance, with axis and branches coarsely segmented. Segments are as broad or broader than long, 1.6 to 3 mm thick in main parts. The color is variable, but is usually pale reddish or pink to yellowish or greenish. (Gosner 1978)
Champia parvula is found in the shallow sublittoral zone (the sublittoral zone extends from just below the lowest low tide line to around the continental shelf) down to a depth of at least about 10 meters (Lee 1986). It grows on hard bottoms or is epiphytic on other algae (Kaplan 1988).
Champia parvula is mainly subtidal in quiet water (often epiphytic) and washes ashore. In the northern part of its range it is usually encountered in the summer and early fall, but farther south it occurs year-round. (Gosner 1978)
Champia parvula has a geographic distribution that extends over a very broad range of temperatures. In laboratory experiments using stocks from different parts of this broad range, Orfanidis and Breeman (1999) found evidence of geographically variable adaptation to different temperature regimes. In both the eastern and western Atlantic, both low lethal winter temperatures and limited potential for growth following exposure to low temperatures appear to prevent further northward extension. Stock from the southern boundary in the western Atlantic is less tolerant of low winter temperatures and this seems to be mainly a lethal boundary, with less of an effect of low temperature on subsequent growth. (Orfanidis and Breeman 1999)
Champia parvula has a very broad geographic range extending from the tropics into the cold temperate zone in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. (Orfanidis and Breeman 1999; Guiry and Guiry 2010). In the United States, it is common from Florida to Cape Cod (Massachusetts) and occurs infrequently in southern California (Abbott and Dawson 1978).
- Champia intricata Cremades (synonym)
- Chondria parvula C. Agardh (synonym)
- Chylocladia parvula (C. Agardh) W. Hooker (synonym)
- Conferva intricata Clemente, nom. illeg. (synonym)
- Lomentaria parvula (C. Agardh) Zanardini (synonym)
- Lomentaria parvula var. vaga Kützing (synonym)