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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Polysiphonia brodiei (Dillwyn) Sprengel 1827: 349.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Family Rhodomelaceae – Tribe Polysiphonieae

Selected citations: Abbott & Hollenberg 1976: 694, fig. 642, Adams 1983: 2; 1994: 325, pl. 110, lower left. J. Agardh 1863: 993. Batten 1923: 303, pl. 24 figs 61–63. De Toni 1903: 947. Harvey 1848: pl. 195; 1855b: 230. Hollenberg 1944: 477. Lewis 1983: 262. Segi 1960: 623, fig. 15, pl. 34C, D. Maggs & Hommersand 1993: 314, fig. 95. Rosenvinge 1924: 430 figs 376–384. Silva et al. 1996: 537. Womersley 1979: 496, fig. 11A–E.


Conferva brodiaei Dillwyn 1809, pl. 107.

Thallus (Fig. 87A) dark-red brown, 4–12 (–17) cm high, profusely and irregularly branched from one or a few basal, erect axes (or slight prostrate parts), with several percurrent main branches, fastigiate above. Holdfast rhizoidal, 1–4 mm across; usually epilithic, occasionally epiphytic. Structure. Basal axis 0.5–1 mm in diameter, heavily corticate, attached by numerous rhizoids cut off from the pericentral or cortical cells; mid branches 300–500 µm in diameter with segments L/D 2–3 (–4) and moderately corticate, tapering to ecorticate upper branches and branchlets 100–200 µm in diameter with segments L/D 1–2, then to 50–75 µm in diameter with segments L/D 0.5–1 shortly behind the apices; young branchlets straight to slightly flexuous, with fairly prominent trichoblasts; lateral branches arising every few segments from the basal cells of trichoblasts, with occasional cicatrigenous branches below. Pericentral cells 7–8, elongate throughout, becoming corticate on branches about 200 µm in diameter with small cells cut off first from the posterior sides of the pericentral cells, forming filaments of ovoid to elongate cells lying over the longitudinal joins of the pericentral cells (Fig. 87B); a thin but fairly complete cortical layer is present on branches about 500 µm in diameter, and this becomes several cells thick on lower branches and axes; trichoblasts or scar cells on every segment, trichoblasts relatively slender (basal cell 10–15 µm in diameter, 2–4 times furcate). Rhodoplasts ovoid to irregular.

Reproduction: Gametophytes dioecious. Carposporophytes with a slight basal fusion cell and short gonimoblast bearing clavate terminal carposporangia 20–40 µm diameter. Cystocarps (Fig. 87C) stalked, subspherical to ovoid, sometimes slightly urceolate, 250–400 µm in diameter; pericarp ostiolate, 2 cells thick, outer cells angular, usually longitudinally elongate and L/D 1–2 (–3), often becoming irregularly lobed, sometimes with the ostiolar cells becoming enlarged. Spermatangial branches (Fig. 87D) developing as one branch of a trichoblast, cylindrical and gently tapering, 180–350 µm long and 50–75 µm in diameter, without a sterile apical cell when mature.

Tetrasporangia (Fig. 87E) forming gently spiral series in upper branches, often descending below several young lateral branches, with a divergence of 1/6 or 1/7, slightly distorting the segments and occupying when mature half to most of the segment diameter, subspherical to ovoid, 50–100 µm in diameter.

Type from Cork, Bantry Bay, Ireland (Hutchins). See Maggs & Hommersand (1993, p. 314).

Selected specimens: Gulf St Vincent, S. Aust., 60 m deep (AD, A1209). American R. inlet, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., 1 m deep on buoys (Lavers, 22.x.1997; AD, A68242). Robe, S. Aust., on ramp in boat harbour, low tide level (Womersley, 24.viii.1973; AD, A44594) and on slipway reef, upper sublittoral (Womersley, 14.ii.1978; AD, A49156). Apollo Bay, Vic., 0.5–1 m deep on pipeline (Parker & Womersley, 21.viii.1988; AD, A59238-"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 324). Swan I. Naval Depot, Port Phillip, Vic., 0–0.5 m deep on barge (Womersley, 8.iv.1959; AD, A22608). Gellibrand Light, Port Phillip Bay, Vic., 0–2 m deep (Kraft, 28.i.1976; AD, 49792). Flinders, Western Port, Vic., drift (Sinkora A1732, 16.xi.1972; AD, A53440). Bellerive, Tas. (Perrin, Nov. 1940; MEL, 46013) and (Cribb 47.7, 28.iii.1950; AD, A16005). Bicheno, Tas., on Codium fragile, lower eulittoral (Skinner, 22.ii.1978; AD, A49203). Blackmans Bay, Tas., drift (Cribb 76.9, 22.ix.1950; AD, A16248). Taroona, Tas., 1–3 m deep (Shepherd, 19.iii.1975; AD, A46224).

Distribution map based
on current data relating to
specimens held in the
State Herbarium of SA

Distribution: In southern Australia from Gulf St Vincent, S. Aust., to Port Phillip, Vic., and SE Tasmania.

Europe, Mediterranean, Atlantic Canada, NW U.S.A., Japan, Indian Ocean, New Zealand.

Taxonomic notes: The Australian specimens agree well with material from Britain and, as in some other countries (e.g. California, see Hollenberg 1944, p. 477). The species is usually found in or near harbour areas and may be spread by shipping.

Silva et al. 1996, p. 537 commented on the spelling of "brodiei".


ABBOTT, I.A. & HOLLENBERG, G.J. (1976). Marine Algae of California. (Stanford Univ. Press: Stanford.)

AGARDH, J.G. (1863). Species Genera et Ordines Algarum. Vol. 2, Part 3, pp. 787–1291. (Gleerup: Lund.)

BATTEN, L. (1923). The Genus Polysiphonia Grev., a Critical Revision of the British Species, based upon Anatomy. Journ. Linn. Soc. Bot. 46, 271–311.

DE TONI, G.B. (1903). Sylloge Algarum omnium hucusque Cognitarum. Vol. 4. Florideae. Sect. 3. pp. 775–1521 + 1523–1525. (Padua.)

DILLWYN, L.W. (1809). British Confervae. Plates 100–109, pp. 1–87. (Phillips: London.)

HARVEY, W.H. (1848). Phycologia Britannica. Plates 145–216. (Reeve: London.)

HARVEY, W.H. (1855b). Algae. In Hooker, J.D., The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage. II. Flora Novae-Zelandiae. Part II, pp. 211–266, Plates 107–121. (Reeve: London.)

HOLLENBERG, G.J. (1944). An account of the species of Polysiphonia on the Pacific Coast of North America. II. Polysiphonia. Am. J. Bot. 31, 474–483.

LEWIS, J.A. (1983). Floristic composition and periodicity of subtidal algae on an artifical structure in Port Phillip Bay (Victoria, Australia). Aquatic Bot. 15, 257–274.

MAGGS, C.A. & HOMMERSAND, M.H. (1993). Seaweeds of the British Isles. Vol. 1. Rhodophyta. Part 3A, Ceramiales. (HMSO: London.)

ROSENVINGE, L.K. (1924). The marine algae of Denmark. Contributions to their natural history. Part III. Rhodophyceae III (Ceramiales). K. Danske Vidensk. Selsk. Biol. Skr., 7 Raekke, Afd. 7, 287–486, Plates 5–7. (Lipsiae.)

SEGI, T. (1960). Further study of Polysiphonia from Japan (II). Rep. Fac. Fish., Prefect. Univ. Mie 3, 608–626, Plates 24–35.

SILVA, P.C., BASSON, P.W. & MOE, R.L. (1996). Catalogue of the Benthic Marine Algae of the Indian Ocean. (Univ. California Press: Berkeley.)

SPRENGEL, C. (1827). Caroli Linnaei ... Systema vegetabilium, Ed. 16, Vol. 4, Part 1.592 pp. (Göttingen.)

WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1979). Southern Australian species of Polysiphonia Greville (Rhodophyta). Aust. J. Bot. 27, 459–528.

The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia Part IIID complete list of references.

Publication: Womersley, H.B.S. (24 February, 2003)
The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia
Rhodophyta. Part IIID. Ceramiales – Delesseriaceae, Sarcomeniaceae, Rhodomelaceae
Reproduced with permission from The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia Part IIID 2003, by H.B.S. Womersley. Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra. Copyright Commonwealth of Australia.

Illustration in Womersley Part IIIA, 2003: FIG. 87 A–E.

Figure 87 image

Figure 87   enlarge

Fig. 87. A–E. Polysiphonia brodiei (A, B, E, AD, A49156; C, D, AD, A44594). A. Habit. B. Young cortication. C. Branches with cystocarps. D. Spermatangial branches. E. Tetrasporangial branches. F–H. Polysiphonia constricta (F, G, AD, A32927; H, AD, A42354). F. Habit. G. Branch with basally constricted laterals. H. Tetrasporangial branches. (All as in Womersley 1979, courtesy of Aust. J. Bot.)

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