BIOTIC Species Information for Furcellaria lumbricalis
|Researched by||Will Rayment||Data supplied by||MarLIN|
|Refereed by||This information is not refereed.|
|Scientific name||Furcellaria lumbricalis||Common name||A red seaweed|
|MCS Code||ZM337||Recent Synonyms||Furcellaria fastigiata, Fucus fastigiata|
|Taxonomy References||Dickinson, 1963, Fish & Fish, 1996, Dixon & Irvine, 1977, Bird et al., 1991,|
|Growth form||Arborescent / Arbuscular
|Typical food types||Not relevant||Habit||Attached|
|Bioturbator||Not relevant||Flexibility||High (>45 degrees)|
|Height||Up to 30 cm||Growth Rate||1.3% increase in fresh weight / day|
|Adult dispersal potential||None||Dependency||Independent|
|General Biology Additional Information||Size at maturity
Plants become fertile when they achieve their full size of 90-300mm according to habitat, during the 4th to 6th year (Austin 1960a,b).
Bird et al. (1979) reported growth rates of Furcellaria lumbricalis in the laboratory as a doubling in weight in 25-50 days or a 3.3% increase in fresh weight per day. For comparison, the corresponding rates for Chondrus crispus are 10 days and 7.3%, and for Fucus serratus are 12.5 days and 6.2%. These figures suggest that Furcellaria lumbricalis grows slowly in comparison to other red and brown seaweeds. The reported growth rates from the field are even slower. Blinova (1975) (cited in Bird et al., 1979) recorded a doubling in fresh weight every 167 days and Taylor (1975) (cited in Bird et al., 1979) recorded a 1.3% increase in fresh weight per day. From a site in Wales, Austin (1960b) reported annual length increments of 29-37mm in fronds initially ranging from 10-60mm in length.
As well as the commoner epilithic form, a free floating variant Furcellaria lumbricalis forma aegagropila has been reported forming rafts several metres thick on the Danish coast and may occur in Scottish and Irish sea lochs (Levring et al., 1969). The free floating form has a globose thallus of radiating fronds and is smaller in stature and frond diameter, with denser and less regular branching than the attached form (Bird et al., 1991).
|Biology References||Dickinson, 1963, Fish & Fish, 1996, Dixon & Irvine, 1977, Bird et al., 1991, Austin, 1960a, Austin, 1960b, Bird et al., 1979, Levring et al., 1969, Sharp et al., 1993, Barton, 1901,|
|Distribution and Habitat|
|Distribution in Britain & Ireland||Occurs around all coasts of Britain and Ireland. There is a paucity of records from eastern England which may reflect a lack of suitable substrata.|
|Global distribution||In Europe, from northern Norway to the Bay of Biscay, including the Faroe Islands and the Baltic Sea. Possibly occurs in Greenland and Iceland. In North America, occurs in Newfoundland and the Gulf of St Lawrence and its outer coasts.|
|Biogeographic range||Not researched||Depth range||In pools in eulittoral to 30m|
|Migratory||Non-migratory / Resident|
|Distribution Additional Information||Around Prince Edward Island, Canada, Furcellaria lumbricalis is sometimes found growing epiphytically on Phyllophora sp. (Sharp et al., 1993).|
Large to very large boulders
Water column (pelagic)
|Physiographic preferences||Strait / sound
Enclosed coast / Embayment
|Biological zone||Upper Eulittoral
|Tidal stream strength/Water flow||Moderately Strong (1-3 kn)
Weak (<1 kn)
Very Weak (negligible)
|Salinity||Variable (18-40 psu)
Reduced (18-30 psu)
Low (<18 psu)
|Habitat Preferences Additional Information|
|Distribution References||Dickinson, 1963, Fish & Fish, 1996, Dixon & Irvine, 1977, Bird et al., 1991, Austin, 1960a, Austin, 1960b, Levring et al., 1969, Norton, 1985, Sharp et al., 1993, Hardy & Guiry, 2003,|
See additional information
|Developmental mechanism||Spores (sexual / asexual)
|Reproductive Season||December to April||Reproductive Location||Insufficient information|
|Reproductive frequency||Annual episodic||Regeneration potential||No|
|Life span||Insufficient information||Age at reproductive maturity||3-5 years|
|Generation time||6-10 years||Fecundity||1 million|
|Egg/propagule size||50 µm diameter spores||Fertilization type|
|Reproduction Preferences Additional Information||Reproductive Type
The typical attached form of Furcellaria lumbricalis reproduces asexually through tetrasporangial plants and sexually through dioecious gametangial plants (Dixon & Irvine, 1977). The male and female plants are usually in equal proportions but are outnumbered by the tetrasporophytes. The free floating form Furcellaria lumbricalis forma aegagropila reproduces only vegetatively through fragmentation, regeneration and proliferation (Bird et al., 1991). Proliferation, where propagules develop on the parent plant and then detach, is probably the most important mechanism.
Reproduction and seasonality
The mode and timing of reproduction in Furcellaria lumbricalis was reviewed by Dixon & Irvine (1977) and Bird et al. (1991). On the male plants, spermatangial ramuli begin development in late October, developing superficially in the much swollen apical regions and are conspicuous until late April or early May. Discharge of the spermatia occurs from December to April with a peak in February and March. On the female plants, the carpogonial branches are initiated in late December, with carpogonia developing internally in the apical regions. Fertilization probably only occurs over a short period commencing in mid January. The zygote is retained on the female plant but the carposporophyte is not obvious until mid summer. Maturation of the carposporophytes does not occur until a year after fertilization, with a massive discharge of carpospores occurring over a 2-4 week period from late December. 1 million 35-50µm diameter carpospores may be released from an average sized plant when a tract of cells disintegrates forming an ill defined pore to the exterior.
On diploid plants, tetrasporangia are initiated in early April and develop in markedly thickened apical regions. They mature in December and 1-2 million tetraspores are liberated per plant over 2 weeks following disintegration of the thallus surface.
The fruiting pods of all plants fall when they are past maturity and new shoots arise from the resulting truncated tips.
|Reproduction References||Dickinson, 1963, Dixon & Irvine, 1977, Bird et al., 1991, Austin, 1960a, Austin, 1960b, Levring et al., 1969,|