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Undaria pinnatifida
Image courtesy of CSIRO ScienceImage, Australia and the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) licence
Undaria pinnatifida
Taxonomic Group: Algae
Common name: WAKAME


Undaria pinnatifida, commonly known as Wakame, is a large, brown kelp. It is native to the Northwest Pacific, from Russia to the coasts of Japan, Korea, China and Hong Kong. It is a widespread invader with non-native populations on the Pacific coast of North America (California to Mexico), Europe (Northern Ireland to the Canary Islands), Argentina, New Zealand (including Sub-Antarctic Islands), and Australia. It has a large temperature tolerance, growing well in cold-temperate to subtropical waters and is found on a range of substrates, including rocky seabed, breakwaters, piers, floats, oyster reefs, wood, bottles, ropes, and boat hulls. In its native range, U. pinnatifida is an economically valuable food species, being intensively cultivated for food. However, in its introduced range it fouls aquaculture equipment and boating structures and has had varied ecological impacts – competing with native algal species and reducing benthic biodiversity in some places, while increasing habitat structure and diversity in others.

* Content for this species is based on the literature and peer review is pending - if you have comments or feedback please contact Paul Fofonoff at

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Fofonoff PW, Ruiz GM, Steves B, Simkanin C, & Carlton JT (2018)
National Exotic Marine and Estuarine Species Information System.
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Marine Invasions Lab
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

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