Chondrus Stackhouse, 1797

Lectotype species: Chondrus crispus Stackhouse

Original publication: Stackhouse, J. (1797). Nereis britannica; continens species omnes fucorum in insulis britannicis crescentium: descriptione latine et anglico, necnon iconibus ad vivum depictis... Fasc. 2. pp. ix-xxiv, 31-70, pls IX-XIII. Bathoniae [Bath] & Londini [London]: S. Hazard; J. White.

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Type designated in: Stackhouse, J. (1802 '1801'). Nereis britannica; continens species omnes fucorum in insulis britannicis crescentium: descriptione latine et anglico, necnon iconibus ad vivum depictis... Fasc. 3. pp. xxv-xl, 71-112, 1-4, 1-3, pls XIII-XVII, A-G. Bathoniae [Bath] & Londini [London]: S. Hazard; J. White.

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Description: Plants can exceed 20 cm in length and are erect from a discoid base, compressed to flattened, subdichotomously branched, and beset with varying numbers of marginal proliferations. Cystocarps are embedded and aggregated distally or confined to proliferations (Segawa 1941). Cystocarps lack a surrounding filamentous hull, the major generic defining character of Chondrus. Male plants are often said to be extremely rare, but are reported by Tveter Gallagher et al. (1980) to occur in normally expected proportions in at least some populations of the most commerically valuable species, C. crispus. Lazo et al. (1989) found that sporophytic and gametophytic generations are about equally present in subtidal populations in eastern Canada, although stochastic events may operate to give large imbalances at given times. Tetrasporangia occur in branched chains formed laterally on cells of the inner cortex.

Information contributed by: G.T. Kraft & M.D. Guiry. The most recent alteration to this page was made on 2021-04-24 by M.D. Guiry.

Taxonomic status: This name is of an entity that is currently accepted taxonomically.

Gender: This genus name is currently treated as masculine.

Most recent taxonomic treatment adopted: Arakaki, N. & Ramírez, M.E. (2021). Mazzaella canaliculata comb. nov. based on Chondrus canaliculatus (Gigartinaceae, Rhodophyta) from Peru and Chile. Phytotaxa 497(3): 211–228, 7 figures, 1 table.

Comments: The economic importance of this genus currently in eastern Canada and France, and formerly in Britain and Ireland has resulted in major studies of its biology (e.g. Harvey and McLachlan 1973; McLachlan et al. 1988; McLachlan et al. 1989), demography (Bhattacharya 1985, and ecology (Mathieson and Prince 1973; Mathieson and Burns 1975; Mathieson and Tveter 1975). Upper limits of temperature tolerance are experimentally established for the European and 3 Japanese species by Lüning & al. (1986), who speculate on the geographical origin and distribution of C. crispus as a result of Cretaceous and Paleocene geological events. Much emphasis has been devoted to its cultivation in outdoor tanks as raw material for commercial utilization (Chen and Taylor 1978; Simpson and Shacklock 1979; Shacklock and Croft 1981; Bidwell et al. 1985). Chen et al. (1982) kept sterile tetrasporophytes viable for 6 years, showing its potential as a cultivated lambda carrageenan source, and Shacklock and Craigie (1986) demonstrate the feasibility of keeping culture stocks viable in tank culture throughout high-latitude winters. Bidwell et al. (1984, 1985) devised and tested outdoor tank methods generally applicable to Chondrus culture both within and outside of its native range, but conclude that world prices do not allow economically viable cultivation in eastern Canada where the largest natural populations are found. Plants of C. crispus seem particularly succeptible to colonization by endophytes, which have received detailed study (Correa et al. 1987, 1988).

Distribution: The type species occurs in the north Atlantic from New Jersey in the west to Spain and possibly Morocco and the Cape Verde Islands in the east (Dixon and Irvine 1977), as well as Japan. It is almost exclusively restricted to rock and ranges from intertidal to 24 m depths, being also tolerant of lowered salinities. McLachlan et al. (1989) characterize it as the most common red alga in the flora of Maritime Canada and the most abundant seaweed in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Besides the type, Mikami (1965) reports 6 additional species from Japan. No definite species is now known from the Southern Hemisphere since Chondrus mamillatus was referred to Mazzaella mammillata in 2021. Chondrus (?) albemarlensis W.R.Taylor and Chondrus (?) hancockii W.R.Taylor from the Galapagos require further investigation.

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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.

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M.D. Guiry in Guiry, M.D. & Guiry, G.M. 24 April 2021. AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway.; searched on 10 August 2022

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