Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Marine Botany

Egregia menziesii Habitat

Egregia menziesii is a lower intertidal to subtidal kelp.  At least in the Monterey Bay, it grows on rocks between 20ft. and the mean low tide levels (1), and, from what I have seen, mainly in harsh wave stress environments. This gorgeous plant is found all along the west coast of North America.  It grows as far north as Alaska, and as far south as Punta Eugenio, Baja California. (2)

Gordon and De Wreede (see reference below (2) ) found that seasonal low salinity and high temperature, such as those experienced in the Strait of Georgia in British Columbia, inhibit fertilization and sporophyte development.   Distribution of  E.menziesii, according to Gordon and De Wreede is limited by requirements of high salinity and temperatures less than 15 degrees C.

Egregia menziesii is quite common, but not on absolutely every rock like some other algae. You can get an idea of its distribution in an area with this aerial picture of Hopkins Marine Station (courtesy Stanford News), with marks of areas where I have seen Egregia menziesii. It is probably more prominant than this, certainly lots of subtidal individuals based on the amount of drift on the beach at the bottom of the picture.

aerial.jpg (83789 bytes)
References for this page:
Gordon, D.K., and R.E. De Wreede.  "Factors influening the distribution of Egregia menzeisii (Phaeophyta, Laminariales) in British Columbia, Canada."  Canadian Journal of Botany.  v. 56,  1978.
Levring, Tore, Heinz A. Hoppe, and Otto H. Schmid.  Marine Algae - a Survey of Research and Utilization.  Cram, de Gruyter and Co.   Hamburg, 1969.

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