THE UNIQUE KELP
So what exactly makes Cymathere triplicata such a unique kelp? I was wondering that, too. It's more difficult to find C. triplicata in the San Juan Islands than it is to find most kelps, but if you know where to look, you might just stumble upon a small pool filled with this gently swaying, graceful (and slightly funky) alga. I hope you leave this site with a little more knowledge and a lot more love for Cymathere triplicata!
HOLDFAST, STIPE, AND BLADE (OH MY!)
First, you need to know a little bit about the morphological structure of a kelp. What makes a kelp a kelp? Most kelps are divided into three parts: holdfast, stipe, and blade. The holdfast does just what it says: it holds the kelp fast to whatever it is attached to. Cymathere triplicata has a circular or discoid holdfast. From the holdfast grows the stipe: you can think of the stipe as the “stem” of the kelp. It gives the kelp structure in the water and allows it to bend and move with the sloshing of waves. The blade is the “leaf” of the kelp (even though it isn’t really a leaf). This is where the majority of photosynthesis occurs, as well as diffusion of gasses and nutrients to and from the surrounding water.
THAT’S ALOTTA TRIPLICATA!
So let's get some of the basics down. Just how large can C. triplicata grow?
LENGTH OF STIPE & BLADE: 4 m
BREADTH OF BLADE: 22 cm
LENGTH OF STIPE: rarely >5 cm (1)
I think you know enough background information. Let's move on to the more exciting facts about what makes Cymathere triplicata "The Unique Kelp!"
Website created by:
ZooBot Spring Quarter 2009
Friday Harbor Laboratories
University of Washington