Chaetomorpha Algae (Sea Emerald): Interesting Facts


Chaetomorpha is a type of green algae that belongs to the family Cladophoraceae. It’s commonly known as Sea Emerald.

These algae are found in marine and brackish waters, and sometimes in freshwater.

There are about 50 different species of Chaetomorpha, and they are known for their unique unbranched filaments.

What Does Chaetomorpha Look Like?

The algae in this genus have macroscopic filaments, which are made up of cylindrical cells.

These filaments are unbranched, making Chaetomorpha different from its closest relatives, the branching species of the genus Cladophora.

The cells in Chaetomorpha can be cylindrical, barrel-shaped, or oval, and they can be as wide as they are long or up to ten times as long as they are wide.

What Is Inside a Chaetomorpha Cell?

Inside each cell of Chaetomorpha, there is a chloroplast, which is responsible for photosynthesis.

The chloroplast is parietal and reticulate, meaning it covers the entire outer surface of the cell’s protoplast.

The cells also contain many pyrenoids and are multinucleate, with anywhere from 10 to 1000s of nuclei per cell. The number of nuclei in a cell is related to its size.

What Are Some of The Species of Chaetomorpha?

There are about 50 different species of Chaetomorpha. Some of these species are:

  • Chaetomorpha adriani
  • Chaetomorpha aerea
  • Chaetomorpha akineta
  • Chaetomorpha antennina
  • Chaetomorpha bangioides
  • Chaetomorpha basiretrorsa
  • Chaetomorpha billardierii
  • Chaetomorpha brachygona
  • Chaetomorpha californica
  • Chaetomorpha cannabina

How Does Chaetomorpha Reproduce?

Chaetomorpha algae can reproduce both asexually and sexually.

Asexual reproduction occurs through the fragmentation of filaments or by the production of quadriflagellate zoospores.

These zoospores are produced in large numbers from undifferentiated vegetative cells.

Sexual reproduction involves the production of isogamous, biflagellate gametes.

Some of these gametes can undergo parthenogenesis, which means they can develop without fertilization, repeating the gametophytic stage.

What Is the Life History of Chaetomorpha?

Chaetomorpha has a life history with isomorphic gametophytic and sporophytic stages.

This means that the two stages look similar to each other. The chromosome numbers reported for Chaetomorpha are n = 10, 12, and 18.

Where Is Chaetomorpha Found?

Chaetomorpha is found all over the world, in marine and brackish waters, and occasionally in freshwater.

It’s often found in salt marshes or soft-bottom communities, forming extensive mats of intertwining filaments.

It’s also found intertidally, either as scattered individuals or as clumps of filaments on exposed rocks or in pools.

Some species are found as unattached filaments entangled with other algae.

What Are the Uses of Chaetomorpha?

Chaetomorpha is popular among aquarium hobbyists, who use it to help maintain water quality in their aquariums.

However, it’s important to be careful when disposing of Chaetomorpha since dumping it into waterways can lead to the establishment of non-native populations.

These non-native populations can become invasive species and degrade ecosystems.

To avoid this problem, biologists recommend boiling, microwaving, freezing, or desiccating the algae before disposing of it.

What Is the Relationship Between Chaetomorpha and Rhizoclonium?

Chaetomorpha is not clearly separated from Rhizoclonium, another genus of green algae.

Rhizoclonium usually has smaller cells with fewer nuclei, and it often forms rhizoidal branches.

The large cell size and ease of culture make Chaetomorpha suitable for studies of morphogenesis, cell wall deposition, and physiology.

The zoospore ultrastructure in Chaetomorpha, as observed in the species C. spiralis, is generally typical for the Ulvophyceae group.

Chaetomorpha Characteristics

Care Level:Easy
Growth Rate:Fast
Nutrient Uptake:Excellent
Required Lighting:Low High
Required Water Flow:Moderate
Is Palatable?Not really
Maximum Size:24 in (61.0 cm) mound

Scientific Classification

Scientific Name:Chaetomorpha
Also Known As:Sea Emerald
Conservation Status:Unknown

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