The sea is a big part of our planet and we still have a lot to discover! It is also threatened by human activity – pollution! Like the micro-plastics, very small particles of plastic floating in the water column ending inside the most of the sea animals… some of them are struggling to survive and some end up on our plates. Let’s find them
Size: 2 to 200 mm height
Distribution: Western Pacific Ocean (Japan, China and Korea)
Habitat: sublittoral rocky substrata from 0.5 m to 35 m
Behaviour: grows over hard substrata. Has a high reproductive capacity, producing hundreds of individuals from a single specimen by vegetative propagules, also has a high colonization ability. Shows a high rate of detachment and the ability of floating to maintain high photosynthetic rate and reattach to hard substrata again which allows to rapidly expand after colonising suitable geographical areas.
Food habits: autotrophic (photosynthetic)
Ecological importance: This species has the ability to store nitrogen, allowing itself to increase in areas rich in nutrient concentration (upwelling events and seasonal coastal eutrophication). It is highly competitive threatening local biota.
Notes: This is an invasive brown macroalgae, first discovered in the Mediterranean in 2002 and again in 2015 when it started to spread dramatically, was assigned as invasive in 2022. This species is causing major environmental and socio-economic issues along some Mediterranean coasts (France, Spain, Gibraltar), more recently Southern Portugal (during the summer of 2023, many beaches were full of this algae); it affects biodiversity and fishing.