Ruppia maritima

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA LILIOPSIDA NAJADALES POTAMOGETONACEAE

Scientific Name: Ruppia maritima
Species Authority: L.
Common Name(s):
English Beaked Tasselweed, Species code: Rm, Ditch-grass, Ditchgrass, Widgeongrass
French Rupelle Maritime, Ruppia maritime
Synonym(s):
Ruppia aragonensis Loscos
Ruppia brachypus J. Gay
Ruppia maritma L. subspecies rostellata (Koch) Asch.
Ruppia maritma subspecies rostrata C.
Ruppia rostellata Koch in Rchb.
Ruppia rostellata Koch in Rchb.
Ruppia zosteroides (Lojac.) Gillett
Taxonomic Notes: The taxonomy of the Ruppia genus is unclear. Ruppia maritima is a catch-all species name for many forms in this genus. It is likely to be conspecific with other putative species in this genus. This species can be extremely morphologically variable and respond to differing environmental conditions and therefore species identifications often link to differences in environmental conditions. Potential synonyms for this species are R. cirrhosa, R. megacarpa, R. tuberosa and R. rostellata. Flower morphology and genetic studies are needed to evaluate the taxonomy of this species (Larkum et al. 2006).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2007-10-23
Assessor(s): Short, F.T., Carruthers, T.J.R., Waycott, M., Kendrick, G.A., Fourqurean, J.W., Callabine, A., Kenworthy, W.J. & Dennison, W.C.
Reviewer(s): Livingstone, S., Harwell, H. & Carpenter, K.E.
Justification:
Ruppia maritima is a circum-global species, present throughout arctic, temperate and tropical regions. The species is extremely widespread although only locally abundant in some regions. The overall global population trend is unknown, but thought to be stable. Ruppia maritima has a wide salinity tolerance and occurs in fresh water, brackish water and marine environments. It is tolerant of a wide range of environmental conditions, including disturbance. Ruppia maritima is threatened locally by habitat loss from industrialization and agriculture. This species is listed as Least Concern.

However, the taxonomy of this species is confused and it is highly recommended that morphological and genetic studies be carried to determine the distribution limits of this species. Once the taxonomy is sorted out, field studies are needed to determine its actual range.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Ruppia maritima is a circumglobal species, widespread in temperate and tropical regions.
Countries:
Native:
Angola (Angola); Argentina; Australia; Bangladesh; Belize; Brazil; Canada; Cape Verde; China; Denmark; El Salvador; Finland; Ghana; Guatemala; Honduras; Iceland; India; Indonesia; Italy; Japan; Malaysia; Mexico; Mozambique; Nicaragua; Norway; Philippines; Poland; Portugal; Russian Federation; South Africa; Spain; Sweden; Thailand; Turkey; Ukraine; United States; Uruguay
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – eastern central; Atlantic – northeast; Atlantic – northwest; Atlantic – southeast; Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – western central; Indian Ocean – eastern; Mediterranean and Black Sea; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – western central
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Ruppia maritima is extremely widespread although only locally abundant in some regions. For example, it forms massive seagrass beds in Argentina and Atlantic Chile. It is highly tolerant of disturbance, including eutrophication, turbidity, and high and low salinity. It is easily dispersed by waterfowl. It is sometimes present in high altitude lakes. Localized increases and decreases of this species have been observed, but overall global population trend is unknown, but is most likely stable.

Historically, this species was not recognized as a seagrass, but rather as a freshwater or brackish water plant.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Ruppia maritima has a wide salinity tolerance and occurs in fresh water, brackish water, marine environments and it can also be abundant in hypo- and hypersaline conditions. Ruppia maritima is known to survive in salinities ranging from 0 to 70 ppt (Kantrud 1991) but can be negatively impacted by repeated salinity changes (La Peyre and Rowe 2003). It can be found in canals, aquaculture ponds (traditional fish ponds), estuaries, tidal flats, and salt pans. It can even be found in coastal paddy fields (Burkhill 1936). In some cases, this species can become a pest by blocking aqua-ducts and canals. It only occurs in areas of low hydrodynamic regimes. This species can occur is a very wide variety of habitats (low-salinity ponds, coastal lagoons, mangroves, estuaries, marsh pools, tidal rivers, fishponds, mangrove salt marshes).

Ruppia maritima is both annual and perennial.
Systems: Freshwater; Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Also used as fertilizer

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Ruppia maritima is threatened locally by habitat loss from industrialization and agriculture. Coastal land reclamation is also a threat as this species grows in transitional environments between land and sea.

This species is grazed by geese, ducks and swans (waterfowl) throughout its range.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no conservation measures for Ruppia maritima. This species is listed as pest in some areas of its range.

The taxonomy of this species is confused and it is highly recommended that morphological and genetic studies be carried to determine the distribution limits of this species.

Bibliography [top]

Green, E.P. and Short, F.T. 2003. World Atlas of Seagrasses. University of California Press, Berkeley.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.3). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 2 September 2010).

Kantrud, H.A. 1991. Wigeongrass (Ruppia maritima L.): a literature review. US Fish and Wildlife Survey, Fish and Wildlife Research 10: 58.

La Peyre, M.K. and Rowe, S. 2003. Short communication: Effects of salinity changes on growth of Ruppia maritima L. Aquatic Botany 77: 235-241.

Larkum, A.W.D., Orth, R.J. and Duarte, C.M. (eds). 2006. Seagrasses: Biology, Ecology and Conservation. Springer, Dordrecht.

Milchakova, N.A. 1999. On the status of seagrass communities in the Black Sea. Aquatic Botany 65: 21-32.


Citation: Short, F.T., Carruthers, T.J.R., Waycott, M., Kendrick, G.A., Fourqurean, J.W., Callabine, A., Kenworthy, W.J. & Dennison, W.C. 2010. Ruppia maritima. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 September 2014.
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