Researchers find dandelion-like seaweed in bottom of sea

[Japan] Even deep under the sea, the ubiquitous dandelion appears to have taken root.

Researchers have discovered a seaweed that looks like the common flowering plant in the waters around the Ogasawara chain of islands south of Tokyo. But this species is apparently no cousin of its land-based lookalike.

The National Museum of Nature and Science and Kobe University found in their research a brown algae that is probably a new species.

They plan to announce the results of their research in a meeting of the Japanese Society of Phycology that is scheduled to be held in Kochi from March 23-25.

The seaweed was harvested from the sea floor, 56 to 63 meters deep below the surface, near Otoutojima island of the Ogasawara chain in July 2016. Its height ranges from 3 to 5 centimeters.

It is orangish brown and has a brushy “apical tuft” on its upper part. Because of the shape of the tuft, its surface area is large. Therefore, it can live even in deep seas, where little sunlight reaches, through efficient photonic synthesis.

As it resembles the flower and the stem of the dandelion, the researchers named it “umi-tanpopo” (sea dandelion). It is believed to belong to the order Sporochnales in brown algae that contains “kombu” kelp and “wakame” seaweed.

The researchers conducted gene analysis of the dandelion-like seaweed and found that it does not match any known seaweed so far.

“It is difficult for divers to see the sea floors that are more than 50 meters deep from the surface. If we continue to conduct the research, we will be able to find more unknown seaweeds,” said Taiju Kitayama, senior researcher at the National Museum of Nature and Science.


View original article at: Researchers find dandelion-like seaweed in bottom of sea


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