Biological Invasions

, 9:609 | Cite as

First report of the Asian seaweed Sargassum filicinum Harvey (Fucales) in California, USA

  • Kathy Ann MillerEmail author
  • John M. Engle
  • Shinya Uwai
  • Hiroshi Kawai
Invasion Note


We report the occurrence of the brown seaweed Sargassum filicinum Harvey in southern California. Sargassum filicinum is native to Japan and Korea. It is monoecious, a trait that increases its chance of establishment. In October 2003, Sargassum filicinum was collected in Long Beach Harbor. In April 2006, we discovered three populations of this species on the leeward west end of Santa Catalina Island. Many of the individuals were large, reproductive and senescent; a few were small, young but precociously reproductive. We compared the sequences of the mitochondrial cox3 gene for 6 individuals from the 3 sites at Catalina with 3 samples from 3 sites in the Seto Inland Sea, Japan region. The 9 sequences (469 bp in length) were identical. Sargassum filicinum may have been introduced through shipping to Long Beach; it may have spread to Catalina via pleasure boats from the mainland.


California cox3 Invasive seaweed Japan Macroalgae Sargassum filicinum Sargassum horneri 



M. Wonham and J. Wible assisted with collections at Santa Catalina Island, for which we are grateful. Heartfelt thanks to P. Robinson for preparing Fig. 1, to P.C. Silva for his editorial suggestions and to the Tatman Foundation for financial support. Hiroshi Kawai and Shinya Uwai were partly supported by the Global Environment Research Fund (D-4) by the Ministry of Environment, Japan. Voucher specimens are deposited in the University Herbarium, University of California at Berkeley, CA.


  1. Ambrose RF, Nelson BV (1982) Inhibition of giant kelp recruitment by an introduced brown alga. Bot Mar 25:265–267Google Scholar
  2. Britton-Simmons K (2004) Direct and indirect effects of the introduced alga Sargassum muticum on benthic, subtidal communities in Washington State, USA. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 227:61–78Google Scholar
  3. Critchley AT, Farnham WF, Yoshida T, Norton TA (1990) A bibliography of the invasive alga Sargassum muticum (Yendo) Fensholt (Fucales, Sargassaceae). Bot Mar 33:551–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Deysher L, Norton R (1982) Dispersal and colonization in Sargassum muticum (Yendo) Fensholt. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 56:179–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Kogame K, Uwai S, Shimada S, Masuda M (2005) A study of sexual and asexual populations of Scytosiphon lomentaria (Scytosiphonaceae, Phaeophyceae) in Hokkaido, northern Japan, using molecular markers. Eur J Phycol 40:313–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Lee K, Yoo S-A (1992) Korean species of Sargassum subgenus Bactrophycus J. Agardh (Sargassaceae, Fucales). In Abbott IA (ed) Taxonomy of Economic Seaweeds, Vol 3. California Sea Grant College, La Jolla, California, pp 139–147Google Scholar
  7. MBC Applied Environmental Sciences, 3000 Redhill Avenue, Costa Mesa, CA 92626Google Scholar
  8. Merkel and Associates (2005) Eradication and surveillance of Caulerpa taxifolia within Agua Hedionda Lagoon, Carlsbad, California. Fourth Year Status Report. Report prepared for Southern California Caulerpa Action TeamGoogle Scholar
  9. Nyberg CD, Wallentinus I (2005) Can species traits be used to predict marine macroalgal introductions? Biol Invasions 7:265–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach (;; Cited 5 May 2006Google Scholar
  11. Scagel RF (1956) Introduction of a Japanese alga, Sargassum muticum, into the Northeast Pacific. Fish Res Pap St Wash 1:1–10Google Scholar
  12. Setzer R, Link C (1971) The wanderings of Sargassum muticum and other relations. Stomatopod 2:5–6Google Scholar
  13. Silva PC, Woodfield RA, Cohen AN, Harris LH, Goddard JHR (2002) First report of the Asian kelp Undaria pinnatifida in the northeastern Pacific Ocean. Biol Invasions 4:333–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Stiger V, Horiguchi T, Yoshida T, Coleman AW, Masuda M (2003) Phylogenetic relationships within the genus Sargassum (Fucales, Phaeophyceae), inferred from ITS-2 nrDNA, with an emphasis on the taxonomic subdivision of the genus. Phycol Res 51:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Tseng CK, Yoshida T, Chiang YM (1985) East Asiatic species of Sargassum subgenus Bactrophycus J. Agardh (Sargassaceae, Fucales), with keys to the sections and species. In: Abbott IA, Norris JN (eds) Taxonomy of Economic Seaweeds, Vol 1. California Sea Grant College Program, La Jolla, California, pp 1–15Google Scholar
  16. Yoshida T (1983) Japanese species of Sargassum subgenus Bactrophycus (Phaeophyta, Fucales). J Fac Sci Hokkaido Univ ser 5 (Bot) 13:99–246Google Scholar
  17. Wilson M (2001) Is Sargassum muticum a benign invader of tidepools on the Pacific coast of North America? MS thesis, California State University Monterey Bay, Seaside, CAGoogle Scholar
  18. Zuccarello GC, West J, Rueness J (2002) Phylogeography of the cosmopolitan red alga Caulacanthus ustulatus (Caulacanthaceae, Gigartinales). Phycol Res 50:163–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathy Ann Miller
    • 1
    Email author
  • John M. Engle
    • 2
  • Shinya Uwai
    • 3
  • Hiroshi Kawai
    • 3
  1. 1.University HerbariumUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  2. 2.Marine Science InstituteUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  3. 3.Research Center for Inland SeasKobe UniversityRokkodaiJapan

Personalised recommendations