Distribution and community interactions
Bryopsis corticulanswas first identified in Monterey,
CA in 1898 by William Setchell. Since then it has been found along
the western coast of North America from Vancouver Island, British
Columbia down to Baja California, though it is most common around
Monterey. It is a mid-intertidal to subtidal species that is often
found attached to rocks.
corticulanscan be found from S. Canada to Baja, California.
Other speicies of Bryopsis (e.g. hypnoides and pennatula) are
also found along the western coast of N. America, ranging
from S. Canada to Panama (hypnoides).
the Monterey, Ca. area, Bryopsis corticulans grows between
the 2.0 ft. and -1.5 ft. tide levels on vertical sides of rocks
and is usually restricted to rocks exposed to strong surf. Bryopsis rarely grows
in abundance and has been found to be epiphytic (occasionally).
A possible factor limiting Bryopsis' distribution could
be that since it is such a small and fine algae, it cannot compete
as efficiently for space as other sturdier algae, such as Enteromorpha.
At Stillwater Cove, Pebble Beach, CA, Bryopsis was only
found around the outer, more exposed rocks. A step or two deeper
in to the "algal soup," or a more sheltered intertidal
pool, the more dense the vegetation and also no Bryopsis.
In the intertidal community, B. corticulans plays small
but not really important roles. This is most likely because it
does not have many predators, nor does it grow in abundance. Not
many organisms like Bryopsis probably because of the secondary
metabolite kahalalide F, a major depsipeptide, it produces.One
of its known predators are the Sacoglossans, or sea slugs, e.g. Elysia
refuscens. Studies have shown that E. refuscens accumulates
kahalalide F from eating Bryopsis and that this chemical
deterrent protects both Bryopsis and E. refuscens from
fish predation . Other studies
are testing th bioactivity of kahalalide F in the clinical treatment
of prostate cancer.
corticulans can be a housekeeper to tiny plankton, such
as the diatoms (below). However, these diatoms are commonly
found on most algae in the bay.
Not only can Bryopsis be a home for some organisms, but it can also
be a house guest on other alga. B. corticulans has been occasionally
known to be epiphtyic on the brown algae Egregia,
the feather boa kelp. Epiphytes do not metabolically benefit from their hosts;
they use their hosts mainly for a place to live. Although I personally did
not find any examples of this, I was able to find an example of a tropical Bryopsis species
epiphytically living on a tropical brown algae (below).