Biology

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The air bladders keep the fronds of the wrack in illuminated waters, where it is able to photosynthesise (3). In exposed areas, it is beneficial for the wrack to lack bladders, as this decreases the potential for severe damage, and minimises the risk of it being detached and swept away (3). Bladder wrack may live for up to three years. There are separate male and female plants, and reproduction takes place once a year (2). Sex cells are produced in structures known as 'receptacles' located at the tips of the fronds. Eggs and sperm are released simultaneously into the water; the eggs release a pheromone that attracts the sperm (4), and fertilisation occurs externally. The fertilised egg settles to the substrate where it becomes attached after just a few hours (2). Bladder wrack provides shelter for a number of marine species, including the tubeworm Spirobis spirobis, various isopods, and snails (2). It has been harvested by humans for use as a food source, and in various health products (2).
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Conservation

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No conservation action has been targeted at this species.
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Description

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Bladder wrack is a familiar large olive-brown coloured seaweed (3), which attaches to rocky substrates by means of a small disc (4). The flattened, branching fronds, which grow up to 2m in length, have an obvious midrib, and are covered with spherical air bladders, which tend to occur in pairs on either side of the mid-rib (3). In small plants, however, air bladders may be entirely absent (3). Forked and pointed reproductive structures occur at the tips of the fronds (3). The appearance of bladder wrack varies depending on the environmental conditions in which it occurs; in more sheltered areas there are many air bladders, whereas there are fewer in more exposed conditions (3). In very exposed areas, a form of bladder wrack called Fucus vesiculosus forma linearis may arise, which completely lacks bladders (3).
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Habitat

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Bladder wrack occurs intertidally on the middle-shore, where it grows attached to rocky substrates, and is often associated with knotted wrack (Acophyllum nodosum) in the zone above toothed wrack (Fucus serratus) (3). It can survive in a wide range of exposures (3).
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Range

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Occurs around the coastline of Britain, and is also known from Ireland, the Baltic Sea, Norway, the Atlantic coast of France, Spain and Morocco, as well as Greenland, and the eastern coasts of Canada and the USA (2).
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Status

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Common and widespread (2).
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Threats

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This seaweed is not currently threatened.
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Brief Summary

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Some seaweeds can have a greenish color, but yet are not green seaweeds. Bladder wrack is a good example. It can vary from olive-green to brown. Like all brown seaweeds, it is much sturdier than green seaweeds, which easily tear apart. Bladder wrack is easy to recognize by its bladders along the fronds. The floating bladders help the plant to stand straight up in the water. Bladder wrack grows along dikes, on wooden poles and on mud flats. It attaches itself to mussels, stones or other objects. It can grow up to 0.5 meters long. In earlier days, bladder wrack was used as a fertilizer as well as for a remedy for pain in the joints, swellings and skin diseases. Sometimes, there are no floating bladders and then it is easily confused with spiral wrack.
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Fucus vesiculosus

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 src=
Bladder wrack is named for its conspicuous vesicles.

Fucus vesiculosus, known by the common names bladder wrack, black tang, rockweed, bladder fucus, sea oak, cut weed, dyers fucus, red fucus and rock wrack, is a seaweed found on the coasts of the North Sea, the western Baltic Sea and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It was the original source of iodine, discovered in 1811, and was used extensively to treat goitre, a swelling of the thyroid gland related to iodine deficiency.[1]

Description

The fronds of F. vesiculosus grow to 90 cm (35 in) long and 2.5 cm (1.0 in) wide and have a prominent midrib throughout. It is attached by a basal disc-shaped holdfast. It has almost spherical air bladders, which are usually paired one on either side of the mid-rib but may be absent in young plants. The margin is smooth and the frond is dichotomously branched. It is sometimes confused with Fucus spiralis with which it hybridises and is similar to Fucus serratus.[2][3]

Distribution

Fucus vesiculosus is a common large alga on the shores of the British Isles.[4] It has been recorded from the Atlantic shores of Europe, Northern Russia, the Baltic Sea, Greenland, Azores, Canary Islands, Morocco and Madeira.[5][6] It is also found on the Atlantic coast of North America from Ellesmere Island, Hudson Bay to North Carolina.[7]

Ecology

The species is especially common on sheltered shores from the middle littoral to lower intertidal levels.[7] It is rare on exposed shores, where any specimens may be short, stunted and without the air vesicles.[8] F. vesiculosus supports few colonial organisms but provides a canopy and shelter for the tube worm Spirorbis spirorbis, herbivorous isopods such as Idotea and surface-grazing snails such as Littorina obtusata.[2] Phlorotannins in Fucus vesiculosus act as chemical defenses against the marine herbivorous snail Littorina littorea.,[9] while galactolipids act as herbivore deterrents against the sea urchin Arbacia punctulata.[10] Methyl jasmonate may induce the phlorotannins production.[11] Fucophlorethol A is a type of phlorotannin found in F. vesiculosus.[12]

Biology

Plants of F. vesiculosus are dioecious. Gametes are generally released into the seawater under calm conditions, and the eggs are fertilized externally to produce a zygote.[2] Eggs are fertilized shortly after being released from the receptacle. A study on the coast of Maine showed that there was 100% fertilization at both exposed and sheltered sites.[2] Continuously submerged populations in the Baltic Sea are very responsive to turbulent conditions. High fertilization success is achieved because the gametes are released only when water velocities are low.[13]

Individuals of F. vesiculosus from the North Sea colonized the Baltic Sea less than 8 000 years ago. The event is paralleled by a switch from what seems to be obligate sexual recruitment to facultative asexual recruitment.[14] Asexual reproduction in Baltic Sea populations is accomplished by the production of adventitious branches that come loose and reattach to the bottom by the formation of rhizoids. Adventitious branches are present in thalli of F. vesiculosus in other areas too but asexual formation of new thalli has never been reported outside the Baltic Sea.[14][15]

Consumption

Fucus vesiculosus is sold as a nutritional supplement. Primary chemical constituents include mucilage, algin, mannitol, fucitol, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, volatile oils, iodine, bromine, potassium and other minerals.

Adverse effects

Consumption of F. vesiculosus can cause platelet inhibition, which may potentiate the anticoagulant activity of warfarin (Coumadin).[16] It should be avoided before surgery.[16]

Some people may suffer an allergic reaction to the iodine in F. vesiculosus.[17]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Bladderwrack". WebMD. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Nicola White (2008). "Bladder wrack – Fucus vesiculosus". Marine Life Information Network. Archived from the original on 2012-04-02. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  3. ^ Newton, L. 1931. A Handbook of British Seaweeds. London. British Museum (Natural History)
  4. ^ F. G. Hardy; M. D. Guiry (2003). A Check-list and Atlas of the Seaweeds of Britain and Ireland (PDF). London: British Phycological Society. ISBN 978-0-9527115-1-3.
  5. ^ M. D. Guiry; Wendy Guiry (January 12, 2007). "Fucus vesiculosus Linnaeus". AlgaeBase. National University of Ireland, Galway. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
  6. ^ Charlotta A. Nygård; Matthew J. Dring (2008). "Influence of salinity, temperature, dissolved inorganic carbon and nutrient concentration on the photosynthesis and growth of Fucus vesiculosus from the Baltic an Irish Seas". European Journal of Phycology. 43 (3): 253–262. doi:10.1080/09670260802172627.
  7. ^ a b W. R. Taylor (1957). Marine Algae of the Northeastern Coast of North America. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. ISBN 978-0-472-04904-2.
  8. ^ C. S. Lobban; P. J. Harrison (1994). Seaweed Ecology and Physiology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 978-0-521-40897-4.
  9. ^ J. A. Geiselman; O. J. McConnell (1981). "Polyphenols in brown algae Fucus vesiculosus and Ascophyllum nodosum: chemical defenses against the marine herbivorous snail, Littorina littorea". Journal of Chemical Ecology. 7 (6): 1115–1133. doi:10.1007/BF00987632. PMID 24420835.
  10. ^ Michael S. Deal; Mark E. Hay; Dean Wilson; William Fenical (2003). "Galactolipids rather than phlorotannins as herbivore deterrents in the brown seaweed Fucus vesiculosus". Oecologia. 136 (1): 107–114. Bibcode:2003Oecol.136..107D. doi:10.1007/s00442-003-1242-3. PMID 12684854.
  11. ^ Thomas M. Arnold; Nancy M. Targett; Christopher E. Tanner; Walter I. Hatch; Kirstin E. Ferrari (2001). "Evidence for methyl jasmonate-induced phlorotannin production in Fucus vesiculosus (Phaeophyceae)". Journal of Phycology. 37 (6): 1026–1029. doi:10.1046/j.1529-8817.2001.01130.x.
  12. ^ Sabine Parys; Stefan Kehraus; Anja Krick; Karl-Werner Glombitza; Shmuel Carmeli; Karin Klimo; Clarissa Gerhäuser; Gabriele M. König (2010). "In vitro chemopreventive potential of fucophlorethols from the brown alga Fucus vesiculosus L. by anti-oxidant activity and inhibition of selected cytochrome P450 enzymes". Phytochemistry. 71 (2–3): 221–229. doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2009.10.020. PMID 19954804.
  13. ^ E. A. Serrao; G. Pearson; L. Kautsky; S. H. Brawley (1996). "Successful external fertilization in turbulent environments". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 93 (11): 5286–5290. Bibcode:1996PNAS...93.5286S. doi:10.1073/pnas.93.11.5286. PMC 39237. PMID 11607682.
  14. ^ a b Tatarenkov, A.; Bergström, L.; Jönsson, R. B.; Serrão, E. A.; Kautsky, L.; Johannesson, K. (February 2005). "Intriguing asexual life in marginal populations of the brown seaweed Fucus vesiculosus". Molecular Ecology. 14 (2): 647–651. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2005.02425.x. PMID 15660953.
  15. ^ Ardehed, Angelica; Johansson, Daniel; Sundqvist, Lisa; Schagerström, Ellen; Zagrodzka, Zuzanna; Kovaltchouk, Nikolaj A.; Bergström, Lena; Kautsky, Lena; Rafajlovic, Marina (2016-08-15). "Divergence within and among Seaweed Siblings (Fucus vesiculosus and F. radicans) in the Baltic Sea". PLoS ONE. 11 (8): e0161266. Bibcode:2016PLoSO..1161266A. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0161266. PMC 4985153. PMID 27525655.
  16. ^ a b "Herbs to Avoid Before Surgery". University of Texas, El Paso.
  17. ^ "Bladderwrack". MedlinePlus. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved December 13, 2013.

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Fucus vesiculosus: Brief Summary

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 src= Bladder wrack is named for its conspicuous vesicles.

Fucus vesiculosus, known by the common names bladder wrack, black tang, rockweed, bladder fucus, sea oak, cut weed, dyers fucus, red fucus and rock wrack, is a seaweed found on the coasts of the North Sea, the western Baltic Sea and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It was the original source of iodine, discovered in 1811, and was used extensively to treat goitre, a swelling of the thyroid gland related to iodine deficiency.

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