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Overview

Brief Summary

Just like oarweed, sea belt also looks like long leathery ribbons. However, the fronds are lancet-shaped with wavy edges. Roots that cling to stones and shells give the seaweed a sturdy base under water. When wet, the leaves feel slippery due to a kind of mucus. When dried up, a white powdery 'sugar' forms on its fronds, giving sea belt its nickname sugar kelp. In fact, this seaweed is used as a natural sugar substitute.
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Comprehensive Description

Description

 A large brown kelp, which has a long undivided frond, without midrib and with a short stipe. The frond of Saccharina latissima has a distinctive frilly undulating margin. It lives for 2 to 4 years and grows quickly from winter to April.Also known as sugar kelp and sea-belt. The name sugar kelp refers to a whitish, sweet-tasting powder which forms on the dried frond.
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©  The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Source: Marine Life Information Network

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Description

Thallus up to 4 m long, attached to rock by strong terete stipe and haptera. Long leathery blade, unbranched and without a midrib about 15 cms wide, flat but wrinkly with wavy margins. Alaria esculenta has a midrib.
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© National Museums Northern Ireland and its licensors

Source: Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

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Distribution

Widespread all around the shores of the British Isles from the Shetlands to the Channel Islands. Europe: Portugal, Atlantic coasts of Spain and France, Netherlands, Helgoland, Baltic Sea, Norway, Sweden, Faroes, Jan Mayen and Bjornoya, Spitzbergen and Iceland. Greenland. Atlantic coast of North America: Canada, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connetricut and Long Island, Pacific coast of North America fron Alaska to California.
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© National Museums Northern Ireland and its licensors

Source: Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

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Physical Description

Type Information

Type locality: Helgoland, Germany
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Source: AlgaeBase

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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 324 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 44 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 26
  Temperature range (°C): 3.247 - 12.348
  Nitrate (umol/L): 3.445 - 7.121
  Salinity (PPS): 34.649 - 35.363
  Oxygen (ml/l): 6.069 - 7.478
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.335 - 0.482
  Silicate (umol/l): 2.315 - 3.727

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 26

Temperature range (°C): 3.247 - 12.348

Nitrate (umol/L): 3.445 - 7.121

Salinity (PPS): 34.649 - 35.363

Oxygen (ml/l): 6.069 - 7.478

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.335 - 0.482

Silicate (umol/l): 2.315 - 3.727
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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 Saccharina latissima is usually found from the sublittoral fringe down to a depth of 30 m. More rarely it occurs in rock pools. The species usually occurs in sheltered conditions and may attach to unstable substrata such as boulders and cobbles.
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Common and abundant. In low littoral rock pools and the sublittoral to below 20 m.
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Source: Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

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Associations

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / parasite
Hypoderma laminariae parasitises newly washed up plant of Laminaria saccharina

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Saccharina latissima

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Saccharina latissima

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 89
Specimens with Barcodes: 132
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Wikipedia

Saccharina latissima

Saccharina latissima is a brown algae (class Phaeophyceae), of the family Laminariaceae. It is also known by the common name sea belt. It is found in the north east Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea south to Galicia in Spain. It is not found in the Bay of Biscay but is common round the coasts of the British Isles.[2] The species is found at sheltered rocky seabeds.[3]

Saccharina latissima on a beach.
Saccharina lattissima from Avacha Bay

Description[edit source | edit]

S. latissima is a yellowish brown colour with a long narrow, undivided blade that can grow to 5 metres (16 ft) long and 20 centimetres (7.9 in) wide. The central band is dimpled while the margins are smoother with a wavy edge. The frond is secured to the rock in the intertidal and sublittoral zones by a claw-like holdfast and a short, pliable, cylindrical stipe.[2]

Ecology[edit source | edit]

S. latissima is an ecologically important system. It is a primary producer, delivering plant material to the coastal food web. The three-dimensional forests also serve as a habitat for animals, resulting in a high biodiversity. Fish, shellfish and other animals get food and hiding places witin these forests.[4]

Threats[edit source | edit]

In 2004, scientists reported a loss in sugar kelp at 80% of the locations in the Skagerrak and 40% of the locations at the West coast of Norway.[5][6][7] The reasons for this loss are not fully understood, but the increase in ocean temperature, high levels of nutrients and the reduction in animal species feeding off the filamentous algae are suggested as the most likely reasons.[8]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ Lane, C.E.; C. Mayes; L.D. Druehl; & G.W. Saunders (2006). "A multi-gene molecular investigation of the kelp (Laminariales, Phaeophyceae) supports substantial taxonomic re-organization". Journal of Phycology 42: 493–512. doi:10.1111/j.1529-8817.2006.00204.x. 
  2. ^ a b Saccharina latissima (Linnaeus) J.V. Lamouroux The Seaweed Site. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
  3. ^ Bekkby, T., Moy, F. 2011. Developing spatial models of sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) potential distribution modelling of the kelp species Laminaria hyperborea. ICES Journal of Marine Science 66: 2106–2115.
  4. ^ Christie H, Norderhaug KM, Fredriksen S. 2009. Macrophytes as habitat for fauna. Marine Ecology Progress Series 396: 221-233
  5. ^ Rinde E, Christie H. 1992. A survey of rocky bottom communities in the coastal area of Telemark. NINA Oppdragsmelding 133: 1-23.
  6. ^ Moy, F., Christie, H. 2012. Large-scale shift from sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) to ephemeral algae along the south and west coast of Norway. Marine Biology Research 8: 309-321
  7. ^ Bekkby, T., Moy, F. 2011. Developing spatial models of sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) potential distribution modelling of the kelp species Laminaria hyperborea. ICES Journal of Marine Science 66: 2106–2115
  8. ^ Moy, F., Stålnacke, P., 2007. Sugar Kelp Project: Analyses of Climate and Environmental Data with Relevance for Sugar Kelp, SFT Report TA-2279/2007, NIVA Report 5454, 210 pp.
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