MarLIN

information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Green sea fingers (Codium fragile fragile)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.

Summary

Description

Codium fragile subspecies tomentosoides is a dark green seaweed composed of erect, dichotomously branched fronds. These may be up to 1 m in length. The branches are round in cross section but may be flattened beneath dichotomies of branches. The branches are soft with a velvety texture. The fronds usually arise from a spongy disc-shaped holdfast. The subspecies of Codium fragile found in Britain are only distinguishable microscopically.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Recorded from the Orkneys, south east Scotland, south and south west England, the west coast of Wales, Ireland and the west coast of Scotland.

Global distribution

Recorded in the Netherlands, western Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Spain to Norway.

Habitat

Codium fragile fragile grows in high densities and can dominate canopy species in infralittoral rocky reef communities.

Depth range

-

Identifying features

  • Large green algae with spongy texture.
  • Dichotomously branching.
  • Utricles have a pronounced median or submedian constriction.
  • Utricles are sharply mucronate.

Additional information

This alien species originated in the Pacific Ocean around Japan. It was introduced from mainland Europe to the River Yealm in Devon in 1939. It has been found to displace native species of Codium tomentosum.

There is extreme difficulty in distinguishing subspecies from each other. When viewed in section under a microscope, the utricles are shorter and stouter in the tomentosoides subspecies than in the Codium fragile subspecies atlanticum. Work by Provan et al. (2005) identified the species initially by the presence of numerous pointed spines on the surface of the alga, and by subsequent DNA sequencing.

This non-native species is known to occur in a number of marine Special Areas of Conservation (mSACs), in the UK e.g. Pembrokeshire. The impacts or rate of dispersal are not known due to earlier morphological confusion with native species.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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Bibliography

  1. Eno, N.C., Clark, R.A. & Sanderson, W.G. (ed.) 1997. Non-native marine species in British waters: a review and directory. Peterborough: Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

  2. Gibson, R., Hextall, B. & Rogers, A., 2001. Photographic guide to the sea and seashore life of Britain and north-west Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  3. Guiry, M.D. & Nic Dhonncha, E., 2002. AlgaeBase. World Wide Web electronic publication http://www.algaebase.org,

  4. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line] http://www.jncc.gov.uk/mermaid

  5. Maggs, C.A., 2005b. Green sea fingers Codium fragile subsp. tomentosoides. Marine Aliens project. [On-line] http://www.marlin.ac.uk/marine_aliens/marine_aliens.htm,

  6. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from: http://www.nbnatlas.org.  Accessed 01 April 2017

  7. Provan, J., Murphy, S. & Maggs, C.A., 2005. Tracking the invasive history of the green alga Codium fragile ssp. tomentosoides. Molecular Ecology, 14, 189-194.

  8. Silva, P.C., 1955. The dichotomous species of Codium in Britain. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 34, 565-577.

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Oakley, J.A. 2007. Codium fragile fragile Green sea fingers. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/2143

Last Updated: 13/08/2007