Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR)

Acanthophora spicifera
(Rhodomelaceae)

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Acanthohora spicifera is a seaweed that grows in upright clumps of spiny branches, 1-2 mm in diameter. It can be pale yellow, brownish, dark green, or reddish (often dark green in intertidal areas and high wave motion areas). This species grows on the reef in intertidal, lagoon and reef flat habitats, or it can be free-floating.  In Hawaii, Acanthohora spicifera outcompetes native seaweeds for space on the reef. This species readily reproduces and spreads by fragmentation (floating pieces of seaweed) and spores, and continues to spread attached to the hulls of boats. It fouls the hulls of boats used for interisland transport, making them less fuel-efficient.  Acanthophora spicifera was accidentally introduced to Hawaii from Guam in 1950 by hull fouling on the fuel barge "Yon 146." The first fragments of this species were discovered in Pearl Harbor in 1952. It can now be found on all main Hawaiian Islands.  Acanthophora spicifera is the most abundant seaweed species on shallow reefs and the most widespread alien seaweed in Hawaii. Widescale control or eradication from Hawaii is not currently feasible. 


Species description or overview

Invasive algae Acanthophora spicifera overview View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Taxonomy, description, ecology, impacts and distribution of invasive algae Acanthophora spicifera are provided by University of Hawaii Botany Department.

Acanthophora spicifera: an invasive marine alga in Hawaii
Acanthophora spicifera: an invasive marine alga in Hawaii

Acanthophora spicifera information
Spiny seaweed ecology, habitat, dispersal, and management are from The Global Invasive Species Database.

Acanthophora spicifera description and ecology from GISD (ISSG)
A species description and information about the ecology of Acanthophora spicifera as an invasive species is provided from the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). GISD was created and is maintained by IUCN's Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).


Taxonomy & nomenclature

GRIN nomenclature info for Acanthophora spicifera
Nomenclatural information about Acanthophora spicifera is provided by USDA/ARS/NGRP/GRIN.

Acanthophora spicifera information from ITIS
The Integrated Taxonomic Information System ITIS provides authoritative taxonomic information on Acanthophora spicifera, as well as other plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.

IPNI nomenclature info for Acanthophora spicifera
Nomenclatural information about Acanthophora spicifera is provided by The International Plant Names Index (IPNI).


Identification

ReefWatcher's Field Guide to Alien and Native Hawaiian Marine Algae (Common Limu of Hawaii)
Images, descriptions, habitat, and ecology of common Hawaiian limu are provided by the University of Hawaii Sea Grant program.


Impacts

Dr. Lu Eldridge: testimony on H.R. 3558 "Species protection and conservation of the environment"
Dr. Lu Eldridge presented testimony on H.R. 3558 "Species protection and conservation of the environment."

Attempt to control the invasive red alga Acanthophora spicifera (Rhodophyta: Ceramiales) in a Hawaiian fishpond: An assessment of removal techniques and management options
All methods to control invasive red alga showed a substantial initial decrease in algal density, but the long-term effect was minimal because of rapid regrowth. The most promising removal method was to raise local densities of herbivorous fishes (Pacific Science, 2008).

Acanthophora spicifera (Rhodomelaceae): species information from GCW
Information on Acanthophora spicifera as relevant to Pacific Islands is provided by the Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW).

Acanthophora spicifera impact information from GISD (ISSG)
Impact information regarding Acanthophora spicifera as an invasive species is provided from the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). GISD was created and is maintained by IUCN's Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).


Control methods

Attempt to control the invasive red alga Acanthophora spicifera (Rhodophyta: Ceramiales) in a Hawaiian fishpond: An assessment of removal techniques and management options
All methods to control invasive red alga showed a substantial initial decrease in algal density, but the long-term effect was minimal because of rapid regrowth. The most promising removal method was to raise local densities of herbivorous fishes (Pacific Science, 2008).

Acanthophora spicifera management information from GISD (ISSG)
Management information for Acanthophora spicifera as an invasive species is provided from the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). GISD was created and is maintained by IUCN's Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).


Legislation/regulation

Dr. Lu Eldridge: testimony on H.R. 3558 "Species protection and conservation of the environment"
Dr. Lu Eldridge presented testimony on H.R. 3558 "Species protection and conservation of the environment."


Images

Acanthophora spicifera information from the Smithsonian Flora of the Hawaiian Islands
Information about Acanthophora spicifera in Hawaii is available from the Smithsonian Flora of the Hawaiian Islands.

Marine algae of Hawaii: red algae
Alien algae and corresponding competing native species are shown on this site from the University of Hawaii Botany Department.


Distribution

Acanthophora spicifera information from the Smithsonian Flora of the Hawaiian Islands
Information about Acanthophora spicifera in Hawaii is available from the Smithsonian Flora of the Hawaiian Islands.

Acanthophora spicifera worldwide distribution from GISD (ISSG)
Worldwide distribution information about Acanthophora spicifera is provided from the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). GISD was created and is maintained by IUCN's Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).


Books

Hawaiian Reef Plants
Huisman, John M., Isabella A. Abbott, and Celia M. Smith. 2007. Hawaiian Reef Plants. A publication of the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program. Report no. UNIHI-SEAGRANT-BA-03-02. ISBN: 1-929054-04-1.


Experts

Acanthophora spicifera contacts from GISD (ISSG)
Contact information for experts on Acanthophora spicifera as an invasive species is provided from the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). GISD was created and is maintained by IUCN's Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).


Other resources

Acanthophora spicifera references from GISD (ISSG)
References regarding Acanthophora spicifera as an invasive species is provided from the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). GISD was created and is maintained by IUCN's Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).


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The Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk (HEAR) project was historically funded by the Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) of the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) through PIERC (USGS) with support from HCSU (UH Hilo). More details are available online. Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII)

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