Chlorodesmis is a type of green algae that belongs to the family Udoteaceae.
These algae are found in different parts of the world, from the western Indian Ocean to the central and eastern Pacific Ocean.
They grow in tropical to subtropical waters and are also found in some temperate latitudes.
How Does Chlorodesmis Look and Grow?
Chlorodesmis forms clumps or brush-like aggregates on elongated stipes. These clumps can be 10 to 20 cm wide and 17 cm tall.
The algae’s fronds are made up of numerous, non-septate, dichotomous siphons that are 75 to 515 µm in diameter.
These siphons contain many nuclei, as well as chloroplasts and amyloplasts, which are different types of cell structures. Pyrenoids, however, are not present in Chlorodesmis.
The algae anchor themselves to surfaces by using a felted mass of colorless siphons and entangled adventitious rhizoids.
In some cases, these rhizoids can come together to form a stalk that is mostly composed of colorless rhizoids, which are thinner in diameter than the photosynthetic siphons.
What Is Chlorodesmin, and Why Does Chlorodesmis Produce It?
Chlorodesmin is a toxic diterpene that is produced by Chlorodesmis.
This toxin is important for the algae’s survival because it helps defend them against generalist herbivores, which are animals that eat plants.
The toxin is so strong that it can be fatal to certain corals if they come into contact with the algae.
How Do Fish Interact with Chlorodesmis?
Some fish, like the green coral goby, live in corals and eat Chlorodesmis to enhance their own toxicity. This helps them defend themselves against predators.
Other coral-dwelling fish, such as Paragobiodon echinocephalus, actively trim the algae even though they don’t eat it. This behavior helps maintain the balance of the coral ecosystem.
What Are the Reproductive Structures of Chlorodesmis?
Reproductive structures have been identified in two species of Chlorodesmis, but they are very different. This suggests that Chlorodesmis might actually be a collection of more than one genus.
In Chlorodesmis baculifera, zooids are released from zooidangia, which are grape-like clusters on short stalks found along the vegetative siphons.
In Chlorodesmis major, the distal few millimeters of every siphon turn into a zooidangium, while the rest of the thallus (the body of the algae) becomes bleached and presumably dies back after the zooid release.
Fertility in Chlorodesmis major seems to follow the lunar cycle.
Where Is Chlorodesmis Found?
Chlorodesmis has a wide geographic distribution, extending from the western Indian Ocean to the central and eastern Pacific Ocean.
Most species of Chlorodesmis are found in tropical to subtropical waters, with some even reaching temperate latitudes. However, Chlorodesmis baculifera may be limited to southeastern Australia.
What Is the Vertical Range of Chlorodesmis?
The vertical range of the Chlorodesmis is from the upper sublittoral zone to at least about -35 meters deep.
This means that it’s found close to the water’s surface as well as deeper underwater.
You can check out what this plant looks like over here.
|Required Water Flow:||Moderate High|
|Maximum Size:||8 in (20.3 cm)|