Red String Seaweed (South Sound marine life)

For The OlympianApril 1, 2007 

Red String Seaweed (Sarcodiotheca gaudichaudii)

This stringy red algae is a common summertime seaweed in the low intertidal and subtidal zones on rocks within sandy-mud habitats. This species ranges from Alaska to Mexico.

Like kelps and other larger seaweed species this one is attached to rocks using a pad of tissue, called a holdfast, which binds the plant to its anchoring rock. Some seaweed holdfasts are disk shaped while others are composed of root-like growths. The main stem of a seaweed is called the stipe. From the stipe arise round branches such as those of the red string seaweed and in some species, leaf-like branches called blades.

When fresh the red string seaweed may be used in salads. In the Philippines it is made into a sweet dessert. Similar-appearing seaweeds in our area are also used as food. Commonly called Red Spaghetti, Gracilaria and Gracilariopsis are used in the production of agar as well as eaten in Japan and Hawaii.

The red string seaweed has borne several scientific names over the years such as Agardhiella and Neoagardhiella so if you look up this species in a seaweed book be sure to reference all of its names.

Two recent publications on Pacific Coast seaweeds are “Seaweeds of the Pacific Coast” by Jennifer and Jeff Mondragon (2003) and “Pacific Seaweeds” by Louis Druehl (2003). Useful information also can be obtained from an older publication by Bob Waaland (1977) called “Common Seaweeds of the Pacific Coast.”

Source: David W. Jamison, a marine biologist and Boston Harbor resident

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