BIOTIC Species Information for Chondrus crispus
Click here to view the MarLIN Key Information Review for Chondrus crispus
Researched byWill Rayment and Paolo Pizzola Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byDr Stefan Kraan
Reproduction/Life History
Reproductive typeAlternation of generations
Developmental mechanismSpores (sexual / asexual)
Reproductive SeasonInsufficient information Reproductive LocationAs adult
Reproductive frequencyAnnual protracted Regeneration potential No
Life span6-10 years Age at reproductive maturity1-2 years
Generation time1-2 years FecunditySee additional information
Egg/propagule sizeInsufficient information Fertilization typeInsufficient information
Larval/Juvenile dispersal potentialInsufficient information Larval settlement period
Duration of larval stageNot relevant   
Reproduction Preferences Additional InformationLife span
The fronds of Chondrus crispus typically have a life of 2-3 years (Taylor, cited in Pringle & Mathieson, 1986) but may live up to 6 years in sheltered waters (Harvey & McLachlan, 1973). The holdfast is much longer lived (Taylor, cited in Pringle & Mathieson, 1986) and is capable of regenerating new fronds after disturbance (Mathieson & Burns, 1975; Dudgeon & Johnson, 1992).
Fernandez & Menendez (1991) reported that reproductive capacity was similar for both gametophytes and tetrasporophytes in northern Spain, the estimated number of spores being 8 x 1010/m²/year. The greater number of fertile gametophytes was counterbalanced by the high numbers of tetrasporangial sori and tetraspores.
Timing of reproduction
Dickinson (1963) reported that Chondrus crispus was fertile in the UK from autumn to spring, but that the exact timings varied according to local environment. Similarly, Pybus (1977) reported that although carposporic plants were present throughout the year in Galway Bay, Ireland, maximum reproduction occurred in the winter and estimated that settling of spores occurred between January and May. In northern Spain, Chondrus crispus had reproductive capacity all year round but was greatest for gametophytes between November and March and for tetrasporophytes in April (Fernandez & Menendez, 1991). In Nova Scotia, Canada, cystocarps and tetrasporangia have been recorded on Chondrus crispus all year round with a reproductive peak from August to October (Scrosati et al., 1994). However, spores failed to germinate below 5°C and so winter temperatures in Nova Scotia are unsuitable for spore germination. It was suggested therefore that simple counts of spore production do not adequately model reproductive potential (Scrosati et al., 1994). Scrosati et al. (1994) also commented that viability of spores was low (<30%) and suggested that reproduction by spores probably does not contribute much to maintenance of the intertidal population of Chondrus crispus in Nova Scotia, compared to vegetative growth of gametophytes.
Reproduction References Dickinson, 1963, Dixon & Irvine, 1977, Pybus, 1977, Prince & Kingsbury, 1973, Tasende & Fraga, 1999, Juanes & McLachlan, 1992, Chopin et al., 1999, Fortes & Lüning, 1980, Simpson & Shacklock, 1979, Kuebler & Dudgeon, 1996, Mathieson & Burns, 1975, Dudgeon & Johnson, 1992, Pringle & Mathieson, 1986, Harvey & McLachlan, 1973, Fernandez & Menendez, 1991, Scrosati et al., 1994,
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