The Unique Kelp

  FHL Marine Botany  ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::   Taxonomy | Habitat | Morphology | Life History | Ecology | Triplicata



C. triplicata amongst other kelp (Botanical Beach, Vancouver Island, Canada)

C. triplicata holdfasts attached to a limpet shell (French Beach, Vancouver Island, Canada)



There are 27 genera of kelp identified globally and all but one genus (Phyllaria) of these are found in the North Pacific.  Of the 27 genera, 19 are found exclusively in the North Pacific, one of which is the genus Cymathere (1).  The genus Cymathere includes only one species (monotypic) (2), C. triplicata is found exclusively in the North Pacific.




The sporophytes of Cymathere triplicata appear in the spring and continue growing through December.  They are nearly absent through the winter.  From August to September, the number of individuals reproducing increases from 20-30% to 90% respectively.  In August, C. triplicata is by far as large and healthy as it will be all year.  From October on through to December, 100% of the individuals are reproducing (3).




Many different epibionts live on the surface of C. triplicata.  These organisms include members of the genus Membranipora (an encrusting bryozoan), the genus Obelia (a sessile hydrozoan closely related to jellyfish), gammarid amphipods (small crustaceans), and diatoms (marine microalgae) (3).



Website created by:
Andrea Dingeldein
ZooBot Spring Quarter 2009
Friday Harbo r Laboratories
University of Washington


1)Estes, J. A. and P. D. Steinberg. 1988. Predation, Herbivory, and Kelp Evolution. Paleobiology 14,1:19-36.

2)Griggs, Robert F. 1907. Cymathere, a kelp from the western coast. The Ohio Naturalist 7,5:89-96.

3)Roland, W. G. 1984. Resource management biology for the edible kelp Cymathere triplicata. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 41:271-277.

All photos taken by Andrea Dingeldein unless otherwise noted and are not to be reproduced without proper credit given to the photographer.