Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Marine Botany

Sargassum Morphology

Sargassum muticum is characterized by a central axis, or stipe, with alternate branching perpendicular to the stipe. Off of the branches, or lamina, grow the blades, which are the primary site of photosynthesis. The air-filled vesicles interspersed with the blades keep the alga buoyant. Fertile branches additionally have receptacles, elongate hermaphroditic structures that house the male and female conceptacles. In their respective conceptacles are the male antheridia, which produce sperm, and the female oogonia, which hold the ova. The holdfast is discoid, and it adheres to the substratum with an acid mucopolysaccharide.

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Last updated: 05 January 2005         copyright Jacqueline Pratt 1999.  All rights reserved.