The distribution of the gametophytes of Asparagopsis armata in Ireland currently encompasses a 75 km radius from a seaweed farm that commercially cultivates this species. This is a smaller range than the historic distribution shows since its arrival in Ireland in 1939. Fragmentation of this alga to seed ropes at a commercial seaweed farm seems to maintain the populations of this introduced species. Without this commercial seaweed farm A. armata would probably not flourish on the Irish west coast and this farm appears to act as a source pool for the populations. The sea surface temperatures (SSTs) of Irish waters are suitable for growth, survival and asexual reproduction of the tetrasporophyte and gametophyte; however, they may not be warm enough for sexual reproduction. The effect of temperature on the life cycle and distribution are discussed. Three species, i.e., Ulva lactuca, Plocamium cartilagineum and Cryptopleura ramosa, were hosts for epiphytic A. armata in summer in over 60% of the collected samples.
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Kraan, S., Barrington, K.A. Commercial farming of Asparagopsis armata (Bonnemaisoniceae, Rhodophyta) in Ireland, maintenance of an introduced species?. J Appl Phycol 17, 103–110 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10811-005-2799-5
- asexual reproduction
- Asparagopsis armata
- commercial farming
- epiphytic relationship
- introduced species