Soranthera ulvoidea

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Soranthera ulvoidea, sometimes called the studded sea balloon,[5] is a species of brown algae in the family Chordariaceae. It is the only species in the monotypic genus Soranthera. The generic name Soranthera is from the Greek soros (heap) and antheros (blooming).[6] The specific epithet ulvoidea refers to certain resemblances the algae has with Ulva.[7][1] The name in Japanese is 千島袋のり / ちしまふろくのり (tisima-hukuronori or chishima-fukuronori) literally meaning "Kuril Islands bag nori".[8][9]


True to its common name, studded sea balloons are pale green to olive, ovoid sacs 3–5 centimetres (1.2–2.0 in) in diameter with small brown bumps on the surface.[10][11] The bumpy 'studs' are the sori,[12] which produce the zoosporangia.[13] The sori are darker and measure 1 mm in diameter.[11] There are groupings of multicellular hyaline 'hairs' in the center of the sori.[13][11] The clavate to ovoid unangia (the unilocular reproductive structures or sporangia) are 78-100 μm long.[11] The paraphyses are pluricellular[13] (6-14 cells), also clavate, and almost double the length of the unangia.[11] It has polystichous sporophytes.[14]

In juveniles, the 'balloons' are solid,[13] but in adults they are hollow and pop when squeezed.[12] Thalli are 1–5 centimetres (0.39–1.97 in) tall.[10] The small, discoid holdfast underneath is barely noticeable[10] and can include rhizoids.[7] The rhizoids wrap around the thallus of the host, and will penetrate host tissue in structures resembling haustoria.[7] However, these structures are not haustoria as S. ulvoidea is not parasitic; the holdfast is merely filling cavities in damaged areas of the host with no intermingling of cells.[15]

The earliest recognizable sign of the algae are tiny semicircular outgrowths among the stichidia on hosts such as Neorhodomela larix.[7]

S. ulvoidea resembles immature Leathesia,[10][14] but when popped the thallus will smash together and not fall apart into filaments.[12] It is also said to resemble Colpomenia sinuosa f. deformans[2] and other Colpomenia species, especially when young.[14]


William Albert Setchell and Nathan Lyon Gardner describe two forms of the species.[2]

Soranthera ulvoidea f. typica is the typical form for the species as originally described by Alexander Postels and Franz Josef Ruprecht with a regular ovoid or globular shape.[2][13] It is more common than the other form is in the southern part of the range.[13]

Soranthera ulvoidea f. difformis has fronds that have deep and sometimes irregular lobes.[13] It is usually found in muddy or brackish water.[2]

Isabella Aiona Abbott notes that individuals growing on Odonthalia tend to be narrowly attached, thin walled, and obovoid, growing from central California up to Alaska.[11] Those that have Neorhodomela as a host tend to be attached more broadly, thick walled, spherical, and occurring primarily in northern or central California.[11] She, however, does not apply names to these forms.

Soranthera leathesiæformis was placed in the genus at one time by Hippolyte Marie Crouan and Pierre Louis Crouan,[16] however examination of the specimen[17] showed that it is Colpomenia sinuosa and not part of Soranthera.[7]

A 2005 phylogenetic analysis showed no genetic evidence to support any infraspecific taxa or other species besides S. ulvoidea, despite the morphological differences of the forms.[14] The study also noted that Botrytella micromorus (=Sorocarpus micromorus) is a close sibling taxon, as shown in their maximum likelihood tree of Chordariaceae:[14]


Coelocladia arctica

Streblonema maculans

Isthmoplea sphaerophora

Myriotrichia clavaeformis

Punctaria latifolia

Delamarea attenuata

Striata attenuata

Asperococcus fistulosus

Dictyosiphon foeniculaceus

Hummia onusta

Giraudia sphacelaroides

Chordaria flagelliformis

Sphaerotricia divaricata

Botrytella micromorus

Soranthera ulvoidea

A 2011 study found a compatible tree using different representative species.[18]


Myrionema papilosum

Myractula clandestina

Elachista fucicola

Striaria attenuata

Litosiphon laminariae

Elachista flaccida

Elachista scutulata

Punctaria latifolia

Asperococcus bullosus

Ulonema rhizophorum

Myrionema strangulans

Ddictyosiphon foeniculaceus

Leathesia difformis

Corynophlaea crispa

Chordaria flagelliformis

Soranthera ulvoidea


Studded sea balloon is found in the North Pacific Ocean on the west coast of North America,[9] from Punto San Jose, Baja California, in the south[19] up through the Aleutian Islands, Bering Sea, Commander Islands,[10] and Kuril Islands[9] (down to Shikotan) to the north and west.[8] The type specimen was collected off of Baranof Island.[1]

It grows in protected or partially exposed areas of the low[10][12] to high intertidal zone, and even in tide pools.[20][8][13] Although typically found growing as an epiphyte,[10][21] it also grows on rocks (epilithic) and sand.[20]


S. ulvoidea grows mainly as an epiphyte.[10][21][11] Some of its common hosts include Odonthalia floccosa[21][2][15] and Odonthalia aleutica.[8] The type specimen was found growing on Neorhodomela larix.[1] It also grows on other species of Odonthalia[11][20][13] and Neorhodomela,[12][10][9][11][13] which are all perennial red algae[21] in the Rhodomelaceae family.[11] The epiphytic relationship is thought to be beneficial to the host.[21] Though the relationship was once thought to be parasitic,[7] it is decidedly an epiphyte only.[15] This contrasts with Harveyella, which also uses Odonthalia and Rhodomela as hosts but is a true parasite.[6]

S. ulvoidea is fed on by herbivores such as amphipods, Littorina, and Idotea.[21]

A study on the ecological impacts of ferry traffic at the Canadian Gulf Islands in British Columbia indicated that Soranthera is negatively affected by wakes, despite one of its hosts (Odonthalia floccosa) only being found at wake-impacted test sites.[22]

Methanolic extract of S. ulvoidea has been shown to inhibit Potato virus X (PXV) on lesions of Chenopodium quinoa.[23]


  1. ^ a b c d e Postels, A. & Ruprecht, F. (1840). Illustrationes algarum in itinere circum orbem jussu imperatoris Nicolai I. Atque auspiciis navarchi Friderici Lütke annis 1826, 1827, 1828 et 1829 celoce Seniavin exsecuto in Oceano pacifico, inprimis septemtrionale ad littora rossica asiatico-americana collectarum. pp. [i-vi ], [i]- iv, 1-28 [1-2, index], [Latin:] [-iv], [1]-22, [1-2, index], 40 pls. Petropoli [St. Petersburg]: Typis Eduardi Pratz. OCLC 853056445
  2. ^ a b c d e f Setchell, William Albert; Gardner, Nathan Lyon (31 March 1903). Algae of Northwestern America (PDF). University of California Publications Botany. Vol. 1. University of California. pp. 243–244. OCLC 717754957. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  3. ^ Guiry, M.D. & Guiry, G.M. (2018). AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway (taxonomic information republished from AlgaeBase with permission of M.D. Guiry). Soranthera ulvoidea Postels & Ruprecht, 1840. Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at: http://marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=372521 on 2018-05-03
  4. ^ Michael Guiry in Guiry, M.D. & Guiry, G.M. 2018. AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway. http://www.algaebase.org/search/species/detail/?species_id=xeebbb4a5f30c122a ; searched on 03 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Studded Sea Balloon (Soranthera ulvoidea)". iNaturalist.org. California Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b Bold, Harold Charles; Wynne, Michael James (1985). Introduction to the Algae: Structure and Function (Second ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-hall, Inc. pp. 344–345, 583. ISBN 978-0134777467. OCLC 10506217. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Barton, Ethel Sara (November 1898). "On the Structure and Development of Soranthera, Post. & Rupr". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 33 (234): 479–486. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.1898.tb00666.x. ISSN 1095-8339.
  8. ^ a b c d Nagai, Masaji (30 March 1940). "Marine algae of the Kurile Islands, I" (PDF). Journal of the Faculty of Agriculture, Hokkaido Imperial University. 46: 57. OCLC 995916021. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d 瀬川 (Segawa), 宗吉 (Sōkichi) (1959). 原色日本海藻図鑑 [Coloured illustrations of the seaweeds of Japan]. 保育社の原色図鑑 (Hoikusha no genshoku zukan) (in Japanese). Vol. 18 (Revised ed.). Osaka: 保育社 (Hoikusha). OCLC 644753401.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Lindeberg, Mandy; Lindstrom, Sandra. "Studded Sea Balloons Soranthera ulvoidea". Seaweeds of Alaska. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Abbott, Isabella Aiona; Hollenberg, George J (1976). Marine Algae of California. Redwood City, CA: Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804721523. OCLC 693770114.
  12. ^ a b c d e Holmeson, Jan (19 December 2006). "Soranthera ulvoides (Studded sea balloon)". Sound Water Stewards. Oak Harbor, WA: Periwinkle Press. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Setchell, William Albert; Gardner, Nathaniel Lyon (26 June 1925). The Marine Algae of the Pacific Coast of North America (PDF). University of California publications in botany. Vol. 8. Berkeley, CA: University of California. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.5719. OCLC 3295781. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  14. ^ a b c d e Cho, Ga Youn; Kim, Myung-Sook; Boo, Sung Min (6 January 2005). "Phylogenetic Relationships of Soranthera ulvoidea (Chordariaceae, Phaeophyceae) on the Basis of Morphology and Molecular Data" (PDF). Algae. 20 (2): 91–97. doi:10.4490/ALGAE.2005.20.2.091. ISSN 1226-2617. OCLC 4663643362. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  15. ^ a b c Angst, Laura (20 December 1927). Frye, T. C. (ed.). "The Holdfast of Soranthera ulvoidea". Publications Puget Sound Biological Station of the University of Washington. 5: 267–275. OCLC 7824687.
  16. ^ Mazé, Hippolyte; Schramm, A (1905). Essai de classification des algues de la Guadeloupe (in French) (2nd ed.). Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe: Impr. du Gouvernement. p. 131. hdl:2027/coo.31924000640767. 876347352
  17. ^ Natural History Museum (2014). Dataset: Collection specimens. Resource: Specimens. Natural History Museum Data Portal ( http://www.nhm.ac.uk/services/media-store/asset/4fc357cb75ba3e5b51a22b8bfcfc8ea945e5303a/contents/preview ). doi:10.5519/0002965 Retrieved: 17:42 10 May 2018 (GMT)
  18. ^ Silberfeld, Thomas; Racault, Marie-Fanny L. P.; Fletcher, Robert L.; Couloux, Arnaud; Rousseau, Florence; De Reviers, Bruno (15 August 2011). "Systematics and evolutionary history of pyrenoid-bearing taxa in brown algae (Phaeophyceae)". European Journal of Phycology. 46 (4): 362–378. doi:10.1080/09670262.2011.628698. ISSN 0967-0262. OCLC 773784579.
  19. ^ Aguilar Rosas R, Ramos Rivera P (2017). Macroalgas marinas de la costa noroccidental de Baja California, México. Version 1.3. Comisión nacional para el conocimiento y uso de la biodiversidad. Occurrence Dataset doi:10.15468/kuipmz accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-05-05. https://www.gbif.org/occurrence/1419017165
  20. ^ a b c Augytė, Simona; Shaughnessy, Frank J. (7 June 2014). "A floristic analysis of the marine algae and seagrasses between Cape Mendocino, California and Cape Blanco, Oregon, USA" (PDF). Botanica Marina. 57 (4): 251–263. doi:10.1515/bot-2013-0032. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  21. ^ a b c d e f Anderson, Laura (2012). Costs and benefits of intertidal algal epiphytism. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia. doi:10.14288/1.0073273. OCLC 820560744. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  22. ^ Demes, Kyle W.; Kordas, Rebecca L.; Jorve, Jennifer P. (5 April 2012). "Ferry wakes increase seaweed richness and abundance in a sheltered rocky intertidal habitat". Hydrobiologia. 693: 1–11. doi:10.1007/s10750-012-1082-4. ISSN 0018-8158. OCLC 805138407.
  23. ^ Pardee, Keith I.; Ellis, P.; Bouthillier, M.; Towers, G.H.N.; French, C.J. (26 March 2004). "Plant virus inhibitors from marine algae". Canadian Journal of Botany. 82 (3): 304–309. doi:10.1139/B04-002. hdl:2429/12165. ISSN 0008-4026. OCLC 362238061. Soranthera ulvoidea Postels & Ruprecht 26±25

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Soranthera ulvoidea: Brief Summary

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Soranthera ulvoidea, sometimes called the studded sea balloon, is a species of brown algae in the family Chordariaceae. It is the only species in the monotypic genus Soranthera. The generic name Soranthera is from the Greek soros (heap) and antheros (blooming). The specific epithet ulvoidea refers to certain resemblances the algae has with Ulva. The name in Japanese is 千島袋のり / ちしまふろくのり (tisima-hukuronori or chishima-fukuronori) literally meaning "Kuril Islands bag nori".

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