Sargassum

Sargassum C. Agardh

Languages: English

Overview

Brief Summary

“[T]halli are highly differentiated into holdfast, cylindrical main axis, leaflike blades, and airbladders in the axil of blades.  This genus is widely spread in temperate, tropical, and subtropical waters in both intertidal and subtidal zones.  Some forms are free-floating, sometimes occurring in extensive rafts that harbor distinctive communities of organisms adapted to the buoyant Sargassum habitat.  These occur in the Sargasso Sea off the western coast of Africa.  During the 1940s, Sargassum muticum spread from Japan to the northern pacific coast of the US, and by the 1970s had made its way south to California.  This species of Sargassum has also spread to Europe, probably on oysters destined for aquaculture operations.  Sargassum forms nuisance growths in harbors and on beaches, and it can quickly spread to new areas due to the floatation capabilities conferred by its many air bladders.  Other features contributing to rapid spread include fast growth rate, fertility in the first year and monoecious reproduction.” (Graham & Wilcox, 2000)

Author(s): Soulanille, Elaine
Rights holder(s): Soulanille, Elaine

Description

Life Cycle

Sargassum do not show alternation of generations, as do many other brown algae. Tiny gametophytes (“gametangia”) are retained within the thallus of the larger sporophyte. Gametes are formed in the gametophyte via meios followed by mitotic divisions. The multicellular, macroscopic thalli are diploid (though many cases of polyploidy occur).  (Lee, 1999; Graham & Wilcox, 2000)

Author(s): Soulanille, Elaine
Rights holder(s): Soulanille, Elaine

Diagnostic Description

Parenchymatous, with growth from an apical cell

Branching monopodal, with lateral branch systems consisting of leaf-like blades, air bladders, and recepticles

Haploid generation reduced to the egg and sperm

Gametes retained in conceptacles

Gamete union is oogamous

(Lee, 1999; Graham & Wilcox, 2000).

 

The Sargussum of the Sargasso Sea never develop holdfasts, and all reproduction is vegetative (Graham & Wilcox, 2000).

Author(s): Soulanille, Elaine
Rights holder(s): Soulanille, Elaine

Ecology

Habitat

Rocky subtidal and intertidal; also pelagic, creating large rafts floating on the sea surface, e. g., the Sargasso Sea.

Author(s): Soulanille, Elaine
Rights holder(s): Soulanille, Elaine

Distribution

“Because of their worldwide distribution and capacity to alter native communities, non-indigenous algae are potentially important agents of global ecological change.” (Britton-Simmons, 2004)

 

Sargassum occurs in temperate to tropical waters. Since the 1940s, Sargassum muticum has spread from Japan to Canada, the United States, and Europe where it can have a significant impact on the composition of the native flora and fauna, either via direct or indirect effects.

 (Critchley et al., 1983; Stæhr et al., 2000; Britton-Simmons, 2004)

Author(s): Soulanille, Elaine
Rights holder(s): Soulanille, Elaine

Reproduction

Sexual (with gametes as only haploid phase) and/or vegetative (Lee, 1999; Graham & Wilcox, 2000)

Author(s): Soulanille, Elaine
Rights holder(s): Soulanille, Elaine

Associations

Sargassum rafts are habitat and/or food for many species of larval and adult fish and invertebrates (Stoner & Greening, 1984; Coston-Clements et al., 1991; Hoffmayer et al., 2005; Casazza & Ross, 2008)

Author(s): Soulanille, Elaine
Rights holder(s): Soulanille, Elaine

References

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Britton-Simmons, KH. (2004).  Direct and indirect effects of the introduced alga Sargassum muticum on benthic, subtidal communities of Washington State, USA. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 277, 61 - 78. Abstract
Casazza, T. L., & Ross S. W. (2008).  Fishes associated with pelagic Sargassum and open water lacking Sargassum in the Gulf Stream off North Carolina. Fisheries Bulletin. 106, 348-363.
Casazza, T. L., & Ross S. W. (2008).  Fishes associated with pelagic Sargassum and open water lacking Sargassum in the Gulf Stream off North Carolina.. Fishery Bulletin. 106, 348–363. Abstract
Coston-Clements, L., Settle L. R., Hoss D. E., & Cross F. A. (1991).  UTILIZATION OF THE SARGASSUM HABITAT BY MARINE INVERTEBRATES AND VERTEBRATES - A Review. NMFS-SEFSC-296, 26 pages.
Critchley, A. T., Farnham W. F., & Morrell S. L. (1983).  A chronology of new European sites of attachment for the invasive brown alga, Sargassum muticum, 1973–1981. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. 63(04), 799. Abstract
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Lee, T. F. (1986).  The Seaweed Handbook. New York: Dover Publications.
McCourt, R. M. (1984).  Seasonal patterns of abundance, distributions, and phenology in relation to growth strategies of three Sargassum species. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 74(2), 141 - 156. Abstract
Moser, M. L., Auster P. J., & Bichy J. B. (1998).  Effects of mat morphology on large Sargassum-associated fishes: observations from a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and free-floating video camcorders. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 51(4), 391 - 398. Abstract
Moser, M. L., Auster P. J., & Bichy J. B. (1998).  Effects of mat morphology on large Sargassum-associated fishes: observations from a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and free-floating video camcorders. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 51, 391-398.
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Sieburth, J MN.., & Conover J. T. (1965).  Sargassum Tannin, an Antibiotic which Retards Fouling. Nature. 208(5005), 52 - 53.
Stæhr, PA., Pedersen MF., Thomsen MS., Wernberg T., & Krause-Jensen D. (2000).  Invasion of Sargassum muticum in Limfjorden (Denmark) and its possible impact on the indigenous macroalgal community. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 207, 79 - 88. Abstract
Stoner, A. W., & Greening H. S. (1984).  Geographic variation in the macrofaunal associates of pelagic Sargassum and some biogeographic implications. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 20, 185-192. Abstract
Wells, R. J. D., & Rooker J. R. (2004).  Spatial and temporal patterns of habitat use by fishes associated with Sargassum mats in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Bulletin of Marine Science. 74, 81-99.
Yang, J., & Volesky B. (1999).  Biosorption of uranium on Sargassum biomass. Water Research. 33(15), 3357 - 3363. Abstract