Caulerpa J.V., 1809
Lectotype species: Caulerpa prolifera (Forsskål) J.V.Lamouroux
Original publication:Lamouroux, J.V.F. (1809). Observations sur la physiologie des algues marines, et description de cinq nouveaux genres de cette famille. Nouveau Bulletin des Sciences, par la Société Philomathique de Paris 1: 330-333, fig. 2, pl. 6.
Type designated in Trevisan [de Saint-Léon], V.B.A. (1849). Caulerpearum sciagraphia. Linnaea 22: 129-144.
Taxonomic status: currently recognized as a distinct genus.
"du grec Caulos tige et Erpo je rampe" [from the Greek Caulos "stem" and Erpo "I crawl"]. - (23 Jan 2011) - M.D. Guiry
Description: Thallus composed of horizontal stolon anchored by colorless rhizoids, bearing erect photosynthetic fronds (assimilators) of extremely diverse morphology including thread-like, blade-like, pinnate, spongy and vesicular structures. Radial branching regarded as primitive, bilateral as more recent, interpretations which are supported by ultrastructure of chloroplasts. Reduction of light also results in change of erect portions from radial to bilateral symmetry. In species such as C. racemosa and C. cupressoides morphology has been shown to vary with habitat, resulting in description of numerous varieties or forms (or even species) which probably should be regarded as ecads. Growth apical and indeterminate. Extent of development of stolons and rhizoids depends on substratum; stolons can reach to 12 m.m-2, but generally are more ramified in epilithic specimens; entire alga can reach to 1m. in length. Thallus composed of coenocytic filaments or siphons; walls principally of -1,3 xylan, with numerous trabeculae (branching cylindrical ingrowths of the wall) traversing the lumen. When wounded, as by grazing fish, blade or rhizome exude a yellowish sticky mass which hardens to a wound plug of carbohydrate in a few minutes. Genus heteroplastic. Large chloroplasts with pyrenoid and starch grains seem to be more primitive, being replaced by small chloroplasts lacking them. Amyloplasts mixed with chloroplasts. Isolated chloroplasts survive and divide in vitro for more than 2 weeks. Reproduction probably primarily by fragmentation of stolon. Holocarpic anisogamous sexual reproduction described for some species. Meiosis, where examined, occurs at gametogenesis with formation of gametes in unmodified areas of the thallus, without separation by cross walls; gametes liberated in gelatinous extrusions through superficial papillae. C. okamurai is monoecious, with both sexes separated throughout thallus, whereas C. prolifera is dioecious. Some species of Caulerpa produce the poison caulerpicin, making their use as a food resource hazardous.
Information contributed by: E. Coppejans. The most recent alteration to this page was made on 29 Aug 2011 by M.D. Guiry.
Comments: Geographic distribution is global tropical to subtropical, with some species extending into the Mediterranean Sea and temperate regions of Australia. Highest species diversity occurs in S. Australia. Vertical range includes the intertidal to at least -50m; substrata include unconsolidated sand of seagrass meadows and hard surfaces such as coral rock.
Japanese: Fusa-iwazuta, Umibudo (Arasaki & Arasaki 1983).
Numbers of names and species: There are 163 species names in the database at present, as well as 228 infraspecific names. Of the species names, 97 have been flagged as accepted taxonomically on the basis of the listed literature under the species name. In some instances, opinions on taxonomic validity differ from author to author and users are encouraged to form their own opinion. AlgaeBase is a work in progress and should not be regarded as a definitive source only as a guide to the literature..
Names: ('C' indicates a name that is accepted taxonomically; 'S' a homotypic or heterotypic synonym; 'U' indicates a name of uncertain taxonomic status, but which has been subjected to some verification nomenclaturally; 'P' indicates a preliminary AlgaeBase entry that has not been subjected to any kind of verification. For more information on a species click on it to activate a link to the Species database):
Click here to also show infraspecific names in the list below.
Famá, P., Wysor, B., Kooistra, W.H.C.F. & Zuccarello, G.C. (2002). Molecular phylogeny of the genus Caulerpa (Caulerpales, Chlorophyta) inferred from chloroplast tufA gene. Journal of Phycology 38: 1040-1050.
Sauvage, T., Payri, C., Draisma, S.G.A., Prud'homme van Reine, W.F., Verbruggen, H., Belton, G.S., Gurgel, F.D., Gabriel, D., Sherwood, A.R. & Fredericq, S. (2013). Molecular diversity of the Caulerpa racemosa-Caulerpa peltata complex (Caulerpaceae, Bryopsidales) in New Caledonia, with new Australasian records for C. racemosa var. cylindracea. Phycologia 52(1): 6-13.
Draisma, S.G.A., van Reine, W.F.P., Sauvage, T., Belton, G.S., Gurgel, C.F.D., Lim, P.E. & Phang, S.M. (2014). A re-assessment of the infra-generic classification of the genus Caulerpa (Caulerpaceae, Chlorophyta) inferred from a time-calibrated molecular phylogeny. Journal of Phycology 50(6): 1020-1034.
Verification of data
Users are responsible for verifying the accuracy of information before use, as noted on the website Content page.
Some of the descriptions included in AlgaeBase were originally from the unpublished Encyclopedia of Algal Genera, organised in the 1990s by Dr Bruce Parker on behalf of the Phycological Society of America (PSA) and intended to be published in CD format. These AlgaeBase descriptions are now being continually updated, and each current contributor is identified above. The PSA and AlgaeBase warmly acknowledge the generosity of all past and present contributors and particularly the work of Dr Parker.
Descriptions of chrysophyte genera were subsequently published in J. Kristiansen & H.R. Preisig (eds.). 2001. Encyclopedia of Chrysophyte Genera. Bibliotheca Phycologica 110: 1-260.
Created: 28 December 2000 by M.D. Guiry
Verified by: 29 August 2011 by M.D. Guiry
Linking to this page: http://www.algaebase.org/search/genus/detail/?genus_id=32944
Please cite this record as:
M.D. Guiry in Guiry, M.D. & Guiry, G.M. 2019. AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway. http://www.algaebase.org; searched on 24 March 2019.