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First report of the Asian seaweed Sargassum filicinum Harvey (Fucales) in California, USA


We report the occurrence of the brown seaweed Sargassum filicinum Harvey in southern California. Sargassum filicinum is native to Japan and Korea. It is monoecious, a trait that increases its chance of establishment. In October 2003, Sargassum filicinum was collected in Long Beach Harbor. In April 2006, we discovered three populations of this species on the leeward west end of Santa Catalina Island. Many of the individuals were large, reproductive and senescent; a few were small, young but precociously reproductive. We compared the sequences of the mitochondrial cox3 gene for 6 individuals from the 3 sites at Catalina with 3 samples from 3 sites in the Seto Inland Sea, Japan region. The 9 sequences (469 bp in length) were identical. Sargassum filicinum may have been introduced through shipping to Long Beach; it may have spread to Catalina via pleasure boats from the mainland.

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