Cladophora is a genus of reticulated filamentous Ulvophyceae (green algae). The genus Cladophora contains many species that are very hard to tell apart and classify, mainly because of the great variation in their appearances, which is affected by habitat, age and environmental conditions. Unlike Spirogyra the filaments of Cladophora branch and it doesn't undergo conjugation. There are two multicellular stages in its life cycle - a haploid gametophyte and a diploid sporophyte - which look highly similar. The only way to tell the two stages apart is to either count their chromosomes, or examine their offspring. The haploid gametophyte produces haploid gametes by mitosis and the diploid sporophyte produces haploid spores by meiosis. The only visible difference between the gametes and spores of Cladophora is that the gametes have two flagella and the spores have four. The Cladophora species can be a major nuisance causing major alteration to benthic conditions linked particularly with increased phosphorus loading.
Cladophora balls are formed from the filaments of the alga which are photosynthetic. Large numbers of these balls were thrown ashore in Devon, England. They had an average diameter of 2.5 cm and several million balls were found forming a layer.
Laotian Mekong weed
In Laos, Cladophora spp. (ໄຄ [kʰáj] "river weed" or more precisely ໄຄຫີນ [kʰáj hǐːn] "rock river weed") are commonly eaten as a delicacy and usually known in English under the name "Mekong weed". The algae grow on underwater rocks and thrive in clear spots of water in the Mekong river basin. They are harvested 1 to 5 months a year and most often eaten in dry sheets (ໄຄແຜ່ນ [kʰáj pʰɛ̄ːn] kaipen -kháy sheets-), much like Japanese nori, though much cruder in their format. Luang Prabang's speciality is dry khai with sesame, while Vang Vieng is famous for its roasted kháy sheets. They can be eaten in strips as an appetizer or with a meal. Luang Prabang kháy sheets are the most readily available form of Mekong weed and are famous throughout the country and in the neighbouring Isaan, though difficult to find beyond Vientiane. Mekong weed can also be eaten raw, in soups, or cooked as in a Lao amok preparation called ຫມົກໄຄ [mók kʰáj].
Cladophora is accused of damaging the fishing industry and shoreline property values along the Great Lakes in the United States. Quagga mussel populations have also increased tremendously in the same time frame. It is also a matter for Indian Sambhar lake.
- Cladophora aegagropila - not anymore; now again Aegagropila linnaei.
- Cladophora albida
- Cladophora aokii
- Cladophora brasiliana
- Cladophora catenata
- Cladophora coelothrix
- Cladophora columbiana
- Cladophora crispata
- Cladophora dalmatica
- Cladophora fracta
- Cladophora glomerata
- Cladophora graminea
- Cladophora montagneana
- Cladophora ordinata
- Cladophora prolifera
- Cladophora rivularis
- Cladophora rupestris
- Cladophora scopaeformis
- Cladophora sericea
- Cladophora vagabunda
- Gestinari, L., et al. (2010). Distribution of Cladophora species (Cladophorales, Chlorophyta) along the Brazilian Coast. Phytotaxa 14 22.
- Burrows, E.M.1991. Seaweeds of the British Isles Volume 2 Chlorophyta. Natural History Museum, London. ISBN 0-565-00981-8
- Bryant, J. and Irvine, Linda. 2016. Marimo, Cladophora, Posidonia and Other Plant Balls. The Linnean. 32 (2) pp.11 - 14
- "The beach speaks for itself". June 29, 2008. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016.
- T. J. Entwisle & M. D. Guiry (2005-11-12). "Cladophora Kützing 1843: 262". AlgaeBase.
- Cladophora Index. Monterey Bay Aquarium
- Marsin, P. and J. Tomasz. (2005). Introductory studies on the morphology of the genus Cladophora from the Gulf of Gdańsk. Ocean. Hydrob. Studies, 34(Supl.3): 187-193