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Laminaria setchellii - Split blade kelp

Geographic range:
Aleutian Islands, Alaska to Baja California, Mexico

Key features:
It is a stipitate kelp with a large, broad blade that is very smooth but naturally splits into several ribbons.

Similar species:
Pterygophora californica -- Winged kelp Pleurophycus gardneri -- Gardner's kelp

bay (rocky shore), exposed rocky shore, kelp forest, protected rocky shore
Laminaria setchellii - Split blade kelp image


Primary common name:
Split Blade Kelp
  ITIS code:
Synonymous name(s):
General grouping:
Brown seaweed/algae

Geographic Range
Range description:
Laminaria setchellii occurs on the Pacific coast from the Aleutian Islands to Baja California, Mexico.
Northern latitude extent:
  Southern latitude extent:
East longitude extent:
  West longitude extent:

Intertidal Height
Lowest intertidal height:
0 meters OR 0 feet
  Highest intertidal height:
25 meters OR 83.25 feet
Intertidal height notes:
Laminaria setchellii can be found in the extreme low intertidal.

Subtidal Depth Range
Minimum depth:
0 meters OR 0 feet
  Maximum depth:
25 meters OR 83.25 feet
Subtidal depth notes:
Laminaria setchellii can be found in the upper subtidal.

bay (rocky shore), exposed rocky shore, kelp forest, protected rocky shore
Habitat notes:
Laminaria setchellii lives on rocks in the low intertidal and subtidal. It has been reported to grow optimally between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius. When water temperatures increase to 17 degrees Celsius reproduction is limited.

Relative abundance:
Laminaria setchellii is common.

Species Description
General description:
Laminaria setchellii is a brown algae belonging to the Family Laminariaceae. It was previously known as Laminaria andersonii. It is an understory kelp usually encountered in bands or extended patches on exposed coasts.
Distinctive features:
Laminaria setchellii's sporophyte is medium to dark brown. It has a thallus that is up to one meter tall and consists of a well branched holdfast of haptera that gives rise to a single, erect, unbranched and somewhat rigid stipe. The stipe supports a flat blade that is divided into several distinctive, narrow straps and is basally rounded to wedge-shaped. Laminaria setchellii is often misidentified as Laminaria dentigera.
Laminaria setchellii's thallus can grow to be one meter tall and the stipe can be up to 80 cm long and 2 cm in diameter.

Natural History
General natural history:
The cross sections of Laminaria setchellii reveal concentric rings deposited annually that can be counted to determine both the ages of individuals and the population structure. Young individuals dominate at exposed populations due to the frequent removal of plants by storms; while more protected areas have evenly spread age classes. Individuals at exposed sites were also found to grow taller and have thicker stipes when compared to individuals of the same age at protected sites.
Laminaria setchellii nourishes itself through photosynthesis, converting the energy of light to the energy of carbohydrate molecules.

Feeding behavior
Feeding behavior(s):
Feeding behavior notes:
Mondragon, J. 2003. Seaweeds of the Pacific Coast: common marine algae from Alaska to Baja California. Sea Challengers, Monterey, CA. 97 p.

O\'Clair, R.M. 2000. North Pacific Seaweeds. Plant Press, Auke Bay, Alaska. 162 p.

Data supplied by SIMoN Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network
Anthopleura xanthogrammica - Giant green anemone

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