Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Marine Botany

Codium setchellii



Codium setchellii occurs on exposed substrates in the low intertidal zone. This species seems to prefer large rock substrate. The literature seems to suggest C. setchellii is often found on vertical faces (Abbott and Hollenberg 1976). There have been records of the species in crevices (Doty 1947, Sanborn and Doty 1947, Markham and Celestino 1977). C. setchellii seems to favor sites with moderate exposure to waves (Scagel 1957, Scagel 1966, Scagel 1973, Hawkes et al. 1973). Additionally, populations in Oregon waters are found areas of sand scour, but are scarce in these habitats; they appear to be in a delicate balance given the potential for tissue damage by extreme sand scour, but their slow growth rate and long lifespan allow them to persist in these conditions (Trowbridge 1996).

C. setchellii Habitat Characterization in the Monterey Bay

Observations of C. setchellii for the distribution mapping were also surveyed for habitat preference for C. setchellii occurrence. From the distribution mapping, it is believed that C. setchellii only occurs in areas of moderate wave exposure. The species was not observed inside Monterey Bay proper, where wave exposure was low (so-called wave-protected environments), suggesting C. setchellii favors areas with wave action. This would not be unusual, as areas of increased wave activity also provide higher levels of nutrients, due to mixing in the currents. [Another consideration is whether wave exposure limits a competitor or herbivores.]

In general, C. setchellii was most often found on vertical faces, often with significant slopes. There were some instances (primarily among individuals sampled from Point Pinos, Pacific Grove, CA) where the alga occurred on horizontal rock faces. It typically occurs on bedrock or large boulders, and seems to be absent on small boulders (at least in the sites sampled).

Figure 1: Codium setchellii colonies on vertical rock faces at Point Pinos (Pacific Grove, CA, USA)

Figure 2: An individual C. setchellii occurring on the horizontal surface of a rock at Point Pinos (Pacific Grove, CA, USA)

The largest occurrence of Codium setchellii on the Monterey Peninsula was found in Carmel (CA, USA). Here, C. setchellii formed a crust that covered large percentages of the rocks in the intertidal zone. The alga primarily occurred on vertical or near-vertical rock faces. Some were observed on the horizontal face of the rocks. Only rarely were specimens observed on the underside of rocks or in crevices.

Figure 3: Vertical face with cover of Codium setchellii crust at Carmel site

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|Taxonomy | Distribution | Habitat | Structure & Morphology | Cellular Structure |

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© 2005 Raúl Nava. Text and images freely available for personal, educational use (please credit).
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Last updated: Feb. 05, 2009