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Overview

Brief Summary

False Irish moss is a red seaweed, resembling a stiff, thinner version of Irish moss. The fronds have thick rims and seem to have a channel flowing through them. This seaweed is found in the lower to mid tidal zone which is not exposed for too long, often attached to rocks. Sometimes, you find this seaweed higher up on the dike or on rocks, but then growing under knotted wrack plants. Like some other red seaweeds, false Irish moss is used in the food industry as a thickening agent and stabilizer. If the E-number 407 is among the ingredients, that could mean you're eating this seaweed. In Ireland and Scotland, they use it together with Irish moss to make a drink which is reputed to ward off colds and flus.
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Comprehensive Description

Description

 A small red alga (up to 17 cm in length), the fronds are channelled with a thickened edge and widen from a narrow stipe with disc-like holdfast. The channelling is often slight and is most noticeable at the base of the frond. Mature plants have conspicuous growths of short, shout papillae (reproductive bodies) on the fronds. The plant is dark reddish-brown to purple in colour and may be bleached. The common name false Irish moss is used as it may be confused with Chondrus crispus (Irish moss). The main features separating the two species being the channelled frond and appearance of reproductive bodies on mature plants.May be collected with Chondrus crispus as a source of 'carrageen', which is used to make soups and jellies, and also as a remedy for respiratory disorders in Ireland ('Carrageen' is a hot water extract of red algae).
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©  The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Source: Marine Life Information Network

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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 151 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 33 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 3.5
  Temperature range (°C): 11.471 - 12.348
  Nitrate (umol/L): 4.729 - 7.121
  Salinity (PPS): 35.184 - 35.363
  Oxygen (ml/l): 6.069 - 6.200
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.336 - 0.439
  Silicate (umol/l): 2.315 - 3.285

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 3.5

Temperature range (°C): 11.471 - 12.348

Nitrate (umol/L): 4.729 - 7.121

Salinity (PPS): 35.184 - 35.363

Oxygen (ml/l): 6.069 - 6.200

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.336 - 0.439

Silicate (umol/l): 2.315 - 3.285
 
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 This alga is found on rocky shores, particularly in very exposed areas where it grows amongst barnacles and mussels, on less exposed shores it is often abundant under fucoids. It mainly inhabits the lower shore and rockpools, but can be found in the shallow sublittoral and occasionally deeper waters.
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Source: Marine Life Information Network

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Associations

Plant / epiphyte
Alcyonidium hirsutum grows on Gigartina stellata
Other: major host/prey

Plant / epiphyte
Flustrellida hispida grows on Gigartina stellata
Other: major host/prey

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Mastocarpus stellatus

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


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Mastocarpus stellatus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 8
Specimens with Barcodes: 22
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Wikipedia

Mastocarpus stellatus

Mastocarpus stellatus, also called Clúimhín Cait (cats' puff), carragheen, or false Irish moss, is a species of red algae closely related to Irish Moss, or Chondrus crispus. It is collected in Ireland and Scotland, together with Chondrus crispus as Irish moss, dried, and sold for cooking and as the basis for a drink reputed to ward off colds and flu. The fronds are channelled unlike those of Chondrus crispus, and it has a curved stipe whereas Chondrus has a flat one. It occurs commonly on rocks in the mid- and lower-intertidal.

Mastocarpus stellatus is able to coexist with C. crispus on the northern New England coast despite being a competitive inferior to C. crispus. A greater tolerance for freezing allows it to exist above C. crispus in northern environments where freezing stresses are significant. Mastocarpus is rarely found south of Cape Cod on the United States Atlantic coast because it is out competed by Chondrus when the freezing tolerances are lower.

Distribution[edit]

Generally common on all coasts of Ireland and Britain except perhaps for parts of the east of England - Lincoln, Norfolk and Suffolk.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hardy, F.G. and Guiry, M.D. 2006. A Check-list and Atlas of the Seaweeds of Britain and Ireland.. The British Phycological Society. ISBN 3-906166-35-X
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