sugar kelp  
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Above: Saccharina latissima found in the intertidal area at Cattle Point on San Juan Island.

Below: The kelp crab (Pugettia spp) can be found within the kelps, normally in the intertidal area or tidepools.

(Photo by Stephen Fjelstad)


Saccharina latissima provides a rich resource as food and habitat for various marine species such as Pugettia spp. (kelp crab), sea urchins, Membranipora, various gastropods, echinoderms...etc. Saccharina latissima may release a chemical to attract the sea urchins. Membranipora can be found specifically on the end of kelp meristem tissue as a tiny white dots. Saccharina latissima is one of the important oxygen producers (algae) in the world. They can regulate the carbon oxygen concentration in the environment to reduce greenhouse effect by absorbing carbon dioxde during photosynthesis. However, natural stocks of kelps are decreasing due to increasing global water temperature.


Kelp harvesting is also an important industry around the world. Kelp product alginic acid, is used in different purposes. Alginic acid is a common polysaccharide constituent of kelp cell walls and it can be used to form gels. Alginic acid is used as a stabiliser in the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries: yogurts, shampoos, cremes, lotions as well as ice creams. Alginic acid is also being used in many dietary products because human body can not abosorb it. In lots of biotechnological reserach experiments alginic acid is used to separate substances.




Phycology Section of the German Botanical Society

Schmitz L., and L. M. Srivastava, 1980. Long distance transport in Macrocystis intergrifoli. III. Movement of THO. Plant Physiol. 66: 66-69.