Ahnfeltia fastigiata (Endlicher) Makienko

Type locality: Sitka, Alaska, USA Type: LE (Yoshida 1998: 828).

Etymology: Ahnfeltia – after Nils Otto Ahnfelt, a Swedish botanist who specialized in mosses; fastigiata – Adjective (Latin), fastigiate, with branches clustered, parallel and erect, giving a narrow elongated habit (occasionally meaning branches reaching to the same height) (Stearn 1973).

Common name: Bushy Ahnfelt’s seaweed (Druehl 2000).


1. Classification

Rhodophyta: Eurhodophytina: Florideophyceae: Ahnfeltiophycidae: Ahnfeltiales: Ahnfeltiaceae: Ahnfeltia.


2. Identification

Ahnfeltia fastigiata (Fig 1) is dark purple to black in color, wiry, cylindrical, dense with repeated dichotomous branching that arise from rhizomes (prostrate branches) (Druehl 2000). Plants may reach 40 cm in length but usually are less than 20 cm long (Druehl 2000). This species is frequently found in sandy substratum (Druehl 2000; Mondragon & Mondragon 2003).


3. Distribution

Ahnfeltia fastigiata is reported for North Pacific for the following localities: Alaska, Aleutian Islands, Russia, British Columbia, California, Oregon, Washington, Baja California, Mexico, Korea and Japan (Lindeberg & Lindstrom 2010; Guiry & Guiry 2013).

It is commonly found half-buried in sand or over rocky substratum, from exposed low intertidal to subtidal depths of 8 m (Abbott & Hollenberg 1976; Mondragon & Mondragon 2003; Milstein & Saunders 2012).


4. Vouchers

During the development of this page, one herbarium specimen was prepared and deposited on FHL Herbarium. The alga was collected on Eagle Cove, located at San Juan Islands, Washington. The specimen was collected by Carolina Azevedo, and determined by Charles O’Kelly. The date of the record is June 25, 2013.

There is no previous herbarium specimens of this species housed in the FHL Herbarium. This study provided the first one.

5. Research Notes

Depending on climatic conditions, Ahnfeltiales species can produce phycocolloids such as agar and carrageenan type galactans that are widely used for many industrial purposes (Levring et 1969). For example, the species Ahnfeltia plicata is capable of producing carrageenans in North American and Irish waters, but has been found to produce agar in the White Sea of Russia (Levring et 1969). Ahnfeltia plicata is morphologically very similar to Ahnfeltia fastigiata, but A. plicata occurs from the Bering Sea north (Lindeberg & Lindstrom 2010)


6. Literature Cited

Abbott, I.A. and Hollenberg, G.J. 1976. Marine algae of California. StanfordUniversity Press, Stanford.


Guiry, M. D. and Guiry, G. M. 2013. AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway. http://www.algaebase.org; searched on 16 July 2013.


Levring, T., Hoppe, H. A., and Schmid, O. J. 1969. Marine algae. A survey of research and utilization. Cram, De Gruyter and Co, Hamburg.


Lindeberg, M.R. and Lindstrom, S. C. 2010. Field Guide to Seaweeds of Alaska. AlaskaSeaGrantCollege Program, University of AlaskaFairbanks.


Milstein, D. and Saunders, G.W. 2012. DNA barcoding of Canadian Ahnfeltiales (Rhodophyta) reveals a new species – Ahnfeltia borealis sp. nov. Phycologia 51(3): 247-259.


Mondragon, J. and Mondragon, J. 2003. Seaweeds of the Pacific Coast. Common Marine Algae from Alaska to Baja California. Sea Challengers, Monterey.


Stearn, W. T. 1973. Botanical Latin. History, grammar, syntax, terminology and vocabulary. Timber Press, Portland.


Yoshida, T. 1998. Marine algae of Japan. Uchida Rokakuho Publishing Co, Tokyo.


7. Links to additional resources




8. Page Authors & Affiliations

Carolina Angélica Araújo de Azevedo.

Universidade de São Paulo, Instituto de Biociências, Departamento de Botânica, Laboratório de Algas Marinhas. São Paulo, Brazil.