Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help
|Researched by||Dr Harvey Tyler-Walters||Refereed by||Dr Thomas Wiedemann|
|Other common names||-||Synonyms||Corallina officinalis Linnaeus, 1758|
Corallina officinalis consists of calcareous, branching, segmented fronds, usually erect, up to 12 cm high but often much shorter. Fronds rise from a calcareous crustose, disk shaped, holdfast about 70 mm in diameter. Fronds consist of a jointed chain of calcareous segments, each becoming wedge shaped higher up the frond. Branches are opposite, resulting in a feather-like appearance. Colour varied, purple, red, pink or yellowish with white knuckles and white extremities. Paler in brightly lit sites. Different colours normally represent light induced stress and degradation of pigments (bleaching). Reproductive organs are urn shaped, usually borne at the tips of the fronds but occasionally laterally on segments. Distinguished from the similar Corallina elongata by the structure of its reproductive bodies which bear horns or antennae and from Jania rubens which branches dichotomously.
Also known as 'Cunach Tra' or 'An Fheamainn Choirealach' in Ireland. Growth form can be variable, for example:
In Norway fronds 1-2 cm long recorded in lower littoral in contrast to 10-17 cm long fronds in pools. This variability has resulted in numerous species descriptions that are probably synonymous with Corallina officinalis (Irvine & Chamberlain 1994).
- none -
|Recent Synonyms||Corallina officinalis Linnaeus, 1758|
|Typical abundance||Moderate density|
|Male size range|
|Male size at maturity|
|Female size range||Medium(11-20 cm)|
|Female size at maturity|
|Characteristic feeding method||Autotroph|
|Typically feeds on||Not relevant|
|Is the species harmful?||No|
The biology of articulate corallines was reviewed by Johanssen (1974). In culture Corallina officinalis fronds exhibited an average growth rate of 2.2 mm/month at 12 and 18 deg C. Growth rate was only 0.2 mm/month at 6 deg C and no growth was observed at 25 deg C (Colhart & Johanssen 1973). The crustose holdfast or base is perennial and grows apically, similar to encrusting corallines such as Lithothamnia sp.. The basal crust may grow continuously until stimulated to produce fronds (Littler & Kauker 1984; Colhart & Johanssen 1973). Growth rates may be comparable to encrusting corallines, for example, 2 -7mm per year was reported for Lithophyllum incrustans (Littler 1972). Fronds are highly sensitive to desiccation and do not recover from an 15 percent water loss, which might occur within 40 -45 minutes during a spring tide in summer (Wiedemann 1994). Littler & Kauker (1984) suggest that the crustose bases were adapted to resist grazing and desiccation whereas the fronds were adapted for higher primary productivity and reproduction. Corallina officinalis may support epiphytes, including Mesophyllum lichenoides, Titanoderma pustulatum, and Titanoderma corallinae, the latter causing tissue damage (Irvine & Chamberlain 1994). Corallina officinalis may be overgrown by epiphytes, especially during summer. This overgrowth regularly leads to high mortality of fronds due to light reduction (Wiedemann pers comm.). Other, crustose corallines produce anti-epiphytal substances, like e.g. allelopathics (Suzuki et al. 1998), however, this type of substance has not been found yet in Corallina officinalis.
|Physiographic preferences||Open coast, Strait / sound, Sea loch / Sea lough, Ria / Voe, Estuary, Enclosed coast / Embayment|
|Biological zone preferences||Lower eulittoral, Mid eulittoral, Sublittoral fringe, Upper infralittoral|
|Substratum / habitat preferences||Artificial (man-made), Bedrock, Crevices / fissures, Large to very large boulders, Rockpools|
|Tidal strength preferences||Moderately Strong 1 to 3 knots (0.5-1.5 m/sec.), Very Weak (negligible), Weak < 1 knot (<0.5 m/sec.)|
|Wave exposure preferences||Exposed, Moderately exposed, Sheltered, Very exposed|
|Salinity preferences||Full (30-40 psu), Variable (18-40 psu)|
|Depth range||0 - 18m|
|Other preferences||No text entered|
|Migration Pattern||Non-migratory / resident|
|Reproductive frequency||Annual episodic|
|Fecundity (number of eggs)||No information|
|Generation time||Insufficient information|
|Age at maturity||Insufficient information|
|Life span||Insufficient information|
|Larval/juvenile development||Not relevant|
|Duration of larval stage||2-10 days|
|Larval dispersal potential||No information|
|Larval settlement period|
The MarLIN sensitivity assessment approach used below has been superseded by the MarESA (Marine Evidence-based Sensitivity Assessment) approach (see menu). The MarLIN approach was used for assessments from 1999-2010. The MarESA approach reflects the recent conservation imperatives and terminology and is used for sensitivity assessments from 2014 onwards.
|Removal of the substratum would remove both the fronds and crustose bases on this species. Recovery would be dependent on settlement of carpospores or tetraspores. Corallina officinalis settled on artificial substances within 1 week of their placement in the intertidal in New England summer suggesting that recruitment is high (Harlin & Lindbergh 1977). New fronds of Corallina officinalis appeared on sterilised plots within six months and 10 percent cover was reached with 12 months (Littler & Kauker 1984).|
|Corallina spp. accumulate more sediment than any other alga (Hicks 1985). Significant sediment cover of the middle to lower intertidal in a South Californian shore, resulting from fresh water runoff, caused substantial decline in Corallina spp. cover (Seapy & Littler 1982). However, die back of barnacles and Pelvetia spp. due to smothering allowed Corallina spp. to expand up the shore in the following 6 months (Seapy & Littler 1982). Although the fronds may be intolerant, rapid recovery will result from the resistant crustose bases.|
|Coralline algae, especially the crustose forms are thought to be resistant of sediment scour (Littler & Kauker 1984). Corallina spp. accumulate more sediment than any other alga (Hicks 1985). Significant sediment cover of the middle to lower intertidal in a South Californian shore, resulting from fresh water runoff, caused substantial decline in Corallina spp. cover (Seapy & Littler 1982). However, die back of barnacles and Pelvetia spp. due to smothering allowed Corallina spp. to expand up the shore in the following 6 months (Seapy & Littler 1982). Although the fronds may be intolerant rapid recovery will result from the resistant crustose bases.|
|Finely branched fronds or cushion-like turfs may hold water, reducing desiccation stress. Padilla (1984) noted that finely branched Corallina vancouveriensis held more water than coarsely branched or crustose corallines and survived on emergent substrata around tidepools. This effect is less marked in Corallina officinalis (Wiedemann pers. comm.). Corallina officinalis inhabits damp or wet gullies and rock pools and does not inhabit the upper shore, suggesting that it is intolerant of desiccation. Fronds are highly intolerant of desiccation and do not recover from a 15 percent water loss, which might occur within 40 -45 minutes during a spring tide in summer (Wiedemann 1994). An abrupt increase in temperature of 10 deg C caused by the hot, dry 'Santa Ana' winds (between January and February) in Santa Cruz, California resulted in die back of several species of algae exposed at low tide (Seapy & Littler, 1984). Although fronds of Corallina spp. dramatically declined, summer regrowth resulted in dense cover by the following October, suggesting that the crustose bases survived. Severe damage was noted in Corallina officinalis as a result of desiccation during unusually hot and sunny weather in summer 1983 (an increase of between 4.8 and 8.5 deg C) (Hawkins & Hartnoll 1985). Hawkins & Hartnoll (1985) found that Corallina officinalis and encrusting corallines often die when their protective canopy of other algal species is removed. Therefore, this species is likely to be highly intolerant of increased desiccation, equivalent to being raised one level on the shore.|
Corallina officinalis settled on artificial substances within 1 week of their placement in the intertidal in New England summer suggesting that recruitment is high (Harlin & Lindbergh 1977). New fronds of Corallina officinalis appeared on sterilised plots within six months and 10 percent cover was reached with 12 months (Littler & Kauker 1984). In experimental plots, up to 15 percent cover of Corallina officinalis fronds returned within 3 months after removal of fronds and all other epiflora/fauna (Littler & Kauker 1984). Littler & Kauker (1984) suggested that the crustose base was more resistant of desiccation or heating than fronds. Although new bases may recruit and develop quickly the formation of new fronds from these bases and recovery of original cover may take longer, however, the population is likely to recover within 5 years.
|Bleached corallines were observed 15 months after the 1964 Alaska earthquake which elevated areas in Prince William Sound by 10 m. Similarly, increased exposure caused by upward movement of 15 cm due to nuclear tests at Armchitka Island, Alaska adversely affected Corallina pilulifera (Johansen, 1974). The upper shore extent of this species is determined by the availability of rock pools and wet gullies. Therefore, an increase in emergence and concomitant increase in desiccation is likely to reduce the extent or abundance of the population.|
|Low||Very high||Very Low||Very low|
|Corallina officinalis occurs from very weak to moderately strong water flow. An increase in flow rate outside these limits may result in removal of fronds and competition from other species.|
|Lüning (1990) reports that Corallina officinalis from Helgoland survives between 0 deg C and 28 deg C when exposed for 1 week. New Zealand specimens were found to tolerate -4 deg C (Frazier et al. 1988, cited in Lüning 1990). An abrupt increase in temperature of 10 deg C caused by the hot, dry 'Santa Ana' winds (between January -and February) in Santa Cruz, California resulted in die back of several species of algae exposed at low tide (Seapy & Littler, 1984). Although fronds of Corallina spp. dramatically declined, summer regrowth resulted in dense cover by the following October, suggesting that the crustose bases survived. Severe damage was noted in Corallina officinalis as a result of desiccation during unusually hot and sunny weather in summer 1983 (an increase of between 4.8 and 8.5 deg C) (Hawkins & Hartnoll 1985). Hawkins & Hartnoll (1985) found that Corallina officinalis and encrusting corallines often die when their protective canopy of other algal species is removed. In exerimental plots, up to 15 percent cover of Corallina officinalis fronds returned within 3 months after removal of fronds and all other epiflora/fauna (Littler & Kauker, 1984). Littler & Kauker (1984) suggested that the crustose base was more resistant of desiccation or heating than fronds. It is likely that Corallina officinalis is intolerant of abrupt short term temperature increase although it may not be affected by long term chronic change and the crustose bases are probably less intolerant than fronds.|
|Corallina officinalis is an understory, shade tolerant algae. It is unlikely to be affected by a reduced light attenuation except at the deepest extent of its distribution in subtidal populations. However, reduced light will probably reduce growth rates.|
|Low||Very high||Very Low||Moderate|
|Corallina officinalis thrives in exposed conditions where it may replace fucoids, although it is also found in sheltered conditions. In exposed conditions it may grow as a cushion like or compact turf (Irvine & Chamberlain 1994; Dommasnes 1968).|
|Tolerant||Not relevant||Not sensitive||Not relevant|
|Macrophytes have no known sound or vibration receptors|
|Tolerant||Not relevant||Not sensitive||Not relevant|
|Macrophytes have no known visual receptors|
|Moderate (50 steps per 0.09 sq. metres) or more trampling on intertidal articulated coralline algal turf in New Zealand reduced turf height by up to 50%, and weight of sand trapped within turf to about one third of controls. This resulted in declines in densities of the meiofaunal community within two days of trampling. Although the community returned to normal levels within 3 months of trampling events, it was suggested that the turf would take longer to recover its previous cover (Brown & Taylor 1999). Similarly, Schiel & Taylor (1999) noted that trampling had a direct detrimental effect on coralline turf species on the New Zealand rocky shore. At one site coralline bases were seen to peel from the rocks (Schiel & Taylor 1999), however, this was probably due to increased desiccation caused by loss of the algal canopy. The crustose base has nearly twice the mechanical resistance (measured by penetration) of fronds (Littler & Kauker, 1984). Abrasion due to anchoring and mooring may be comparable. Therefore, intolerance has been assessed as low and recoverability high.|
|Fronds once removed form bases may re-attach to suitable substratum and build a new base and grow at a higher rate that the parent plant (Rosevinge 1917, Wiedemann pers. ob..). New fronds can grow from bases and appreciable cover return in 3 - 12 months (Seapy & Littler 1982; Littler & Kauker 1984). Crustose bases are unlikely to be removed from the rock surface, without removing the substratum (see substratum loss).|
|Oil and detergent dispersants affected high water specimens of Corallina officinalis more than low shore specimens and some specimens were protected in deep pools. In areas of heavy spraying, however, Corallina officinalis was killed, and was affected down to 6m in one site, presumably due to wave action and mixing (Smith 1968). However, regrowth of fronds had begun within 2 months after spraying ceased (Smith 1968). Cole et al. 1999 suggest that macrophytes are generally sensitive to herbicides and Corallina officinalis is probably no exception, although no evidence to this effect was found.|
|No information||No information||No information||Not relevant|
|Corallines are about 74 percent calcified and uptake bicarbonate from seawater readily. As they age the frond accumulate increasing levels of magnesium. However, no information on heavy metal contamination or its effects was found.|
|Low||Very high||Very Low||Moderate|
|Oil and detergent dispersants affected high water specimens of Corallina officinalis more than low shore specimens and some specimens were protected in deep pools. In areas of heavy spraying, however, Corallina officinalis was killed, and was affect down to 6m in one site, presumably due to wave action and mixing (Smith 1968). However, regrowth of fronds had begun within 2 months after spraying ceased (Smith 1968). Crump et al. (1999) noted a dramatic bleaching on encrusting corallines and signs of bleaching in Corallina officinalis, Chondrus crispus and Mastocarpus stellatus at West Angle Bay, Pembrokeshire after the Sea Empress oil spill. However, encrusting corallines recovered quickly and Corallina officinalis was not killed. It seems likely, therefore, that Corallina officinalis was more intolerant of dispersants used during the Torry Canyon oil spill than the oil itself.|
|No information||No information||No information||Not relevant|
|Low||Very high||Very Low||High|
|Corallines seem to be tolerant and successful in polluted waters. Kindig & Littler (1980) demonstrated that Corallina officinalis var. chilensis in South California showed equivalent or enhanced health indices, highest productivity and lowest mortalites (amongst the species examined) when exposed to primary or secondary sewage effluent. Little difference in productivity was noted in chlorinated secondary effluent or pine oil disinfectant. However, specimens from unpolluted areas were less tolerant, suggesting physiological adaptation to sewage pollution (Kindig & Littler 1980).|
|Corallina officinalis inhabits rock pools and gullies from mid to low water. Therefore, it is likely to be exposed to short term hyposaline (freshwater runoff and rainfall) and hypersaline (evaporation) events. However, its distribution in the Baltic is restricted to increasingly deep water as the surface salinity decreases, suggesting that it requires full salinity in the long term (Kinne 1971). Kinne (1971) cites maximal growth rates for Corallina officinalis between 33 and 38 psu in Texan lagoons. A change in salinity equivalent to one level on the MNCR scale for a year is likely to reduce the extent of the population.|
|No information||No information||No information||Not relevant|
|It is thought that algae are not sensitive to deoxygenation since they can produce their own oxygen. However, they may be intolerant in darkness when they can only respire. Corallines may be more tolerant than most algae due to their low rates of respiration (see Littler & Kauker 1984 for values).|
|Low||Very high||Very Low||Very low|
|Several coralline and non-coralline species are epiphytic on Corallina officinalis. Irvine & Chamberlain (1994) cite tissue destruction caused by Titanoderma corallinae. However, no information on pathogenic organisms in the UK was found.|
|Not relevant||Not relevant||Not relevant||Not relevant|
|No non-native species are known to compete with Corallina officinalis.|
|This species was used in Europe as a vermifuge although it no longer seems to be collected for this purpose (Guiry & Blunden 1991). Corallina officinalis is collected for medical purposes; the fronds are dried and converted to hydroxyapatite and used as bone forming material (Ewers et al. 1987). It is also sold as a powder for use in the cosmetic industry. An European research proposal for cultivation of Corallina officinalis is pending (Wiedemann pers. comm.).|
|Removal of canopy species, such as Laminarians (kelps) and fucoids results in increased desiccation (see above). Hawkins & Hartnoll (1985) found that Corallina officinalis and encrusting corallines often die when their protective canopy of other algal species is removed. However, in the subtidal, red algae such as Corallina officinalis may benefit from additional light afforded by removal of kelp species. Therefore, targeted extraction of other species may reduce the extent or abundance of this species.|
- no data -
|National (GB) importance||-||Global red list (IUCN) category||-|
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This review can be cited as:
Last Updated: 22/05/2008