MEPS 314:97-108 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/meps314097

Taxonomic diversity and geographic distributions of aquarium-traded species of Caulerpa (Chlorophyta: Caulerpaceae) in southern California, USA

Susan Frisch Zaleski1, Steven N. Murray2,*

1University of Southern California Sea Grant Program, University of Southern California, 3616 Trousdale Parkway, AHF 209, Los Angeles, California 90089-0373, USA
2California State University at Fullerton, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, PO Box 6850, Fullerton, California 92834-6850, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: We identified 14 taxa (10 species) of Caulerpa from retail aquarium outlets in southern California, USA, suggesting that the aquarium industry has the potential to be an important vector for transporting these non-native seaweeds into distant geographic regions. Seaweeds were sold in 58% and species of Caulerpa in 52% of the 50 stores visited between November 2000 and August 2001. C. serrulata var. hummii (18%), C. taxifolia (14%), C. racemosa (14%), and C. racemosa var. lamourouxii (14%) were the most commonly encountered taxa. The 14 aquarium-traded Caulerpa taxa were distributed from tropical to temperate waters. Only 3 (C. ashmeadii, C. serrulata var. hummii and C. microphysa) were confined to the tropics, whereas 12 had distributions extending into temperate seas. These temperate components to their distributions indicate that, if introduced, several other taxa of aquarium-traded Caulerpa besides C. taxifolia might be capable of establishing populations in southern Californian or other temperate waters.

KEY WORDS: Aquarium industry · Caulerpa spp. · Geographic distribution · Invasive seaweeds · Marine invasions

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