Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Marine Botany

Fauchea  Ecology

      Fauchea laciniata and its counterparts in the genus are part of a magnificent ecosystem here in Monterey Bay. Throughout its distribution F. laciniata may be found in different ecosystems, but in the Monterey Bay area it is generally found in the low intertidal and subtidal areas of the coast often within kelp forests or on the rocky reefs. Normally it grows on rocks, but may often grow on other manmade substrate or even on large, solid, stipes or holdfasts of other algae, like kelp. The samples discussed and pictured in this site were all found on rocks with the exception of the tetrasporophytes which were found on a magnificent buoy line pulled in by Freya Sommer and Jim Watanabe.

     I do not have any images of Fauchea laciniata under water in its habitat simply due to the fact that F. laciniata does not proliferate until the spring upwelling begins and the few that are around are too deep for my snorkeling antics. That said, all my samples were collected by Jim and Freya using SCUBA at depths usually greater than 20 feet. But, if you use your imagination, here's an image, taken right off of Hopkins, that may intrigue you nonetheless...

Bird Rock in Monterey Bay

      One would expect to find some F. laciniata around Bird Rock come spring time. With the additional nutrients provided by the upwelling and the longer daylength as we approach summer, more and more Fauchea will appear throughout the inter- and subtidal here in Monterey.

     In the Hopkins herbarium, a close examination of the samples prepared between 1930 and the present by Isabella Abbott and others shows that the majority of specimens were found between April and August. The reproductive phases of the alga were found between April and June. Furthermore, many of these samples were found washed up on beaches, an experience that escaped me through hours of searching Pebble Beach, Carmel, Big Sur, Pacific Grove, and Monterey beaches. Given this information, it is expected that F. laciniata is only just beginning its spring proliferation now (March).

Fauchea icon
All images and page © 2003 Nicholas Vidargas