Caulerpa taxifolia is an algae of the division Chlorophyta Order of Ulvophyceae Family of Bryopsidales and the Class of Caulerpaceae. It has branched, feather-like, compacted, and erect, three to ten centimeters high; it is 1 - 2 mm in diameter, to the substrate, it is anchored by rhizoids. It also have midrib with Branchlets which are oppositely attached, flattened, slightly curved upwards, pointed at the bottom and tip, and thin at point of connection. Midrib is a little flattened, making it to appear in an oval cross-section. Its color ranges from light green to dark green.
C. taxifolia has turned out to be a successful invader due to its vast number of characteristics which include: A wide-ranging rhizoid system helps in acquisition of nutrient from sediments in waters with low nutrients content. Although it harbors sexual reproduction, resolution takes place chiefly by disintegration which in turns increases the rate of dispersal. Caulerpa taxifolia has also grown majorly since it lacks natural predators. Predation by invertebrates and the fishes which are herbivorous is a key factor in controlling the ecology of this alga. C. taxifolia grows unrestrained in surroundings with predators which are unnatural, for example as in the Mediterranean Sea. It has been noted of an extensive decrease in all aquatic species and in fish biomass in regions where Caulerpa taxifolia has grown rapidly.
Special damage of this alga was found to flourish in chilly aquarium environments by the staff in 1980 at the Wilhelma Zoo in Germany. It was hardened by discriminatory propagation under the introduction to chemicals and ultra-violet light, and when it ultimately entered the Mediterranean, it formed extensive anxiety as it endangered the whole ecosystem by crowding out local seaweeds and on the same time being not edible by animals.
It was revealed in Agua Hedionda Lagoon, located in Carlsbad, in California and also discovered in Huntington harbor .The algae commonly grew in saltwater aquarium systems ,where earlier releases of the weed in European coastal has resulted into vast a widespread leading into diverse natural communities and hence inflicting adverse effects on the native seaweeds and animals. Caulerpa is a collection of seaweeds that grows in nature in seas at the tropics worldwide. They are greatly used saltwater aquarium systems due to their ability to consume excess nutrients and also due to their beauty (Associates, 2006).
Mediterranean strain which is a cold-tolerant and fast-growing strain of the species C. taxifolia, is known for its tendency to rapidly overtake aquariums with its prolific growth. Careless disposal of C. taxifolia removed from unwanted or overgrown aquariums has led to infestations in the wild. From its fast widespread and its aggressive nature ,it has posed a great threat to the coastal ecosystems ,thereby affecting the coastal recreational and commercial uses which are dependent on the natural resources. These effects would require measures which will eradicate the infestations, as well as the prevention together with the detection of new infestations throughout the area. Their invasions have brought about a chief environmental harm in the Mediterranean bionetwork by competing with other species for space and light, and emitting toxins into the water column. This results in the displacement of native communities, and the creation of dense uniform mats that impact benthic communities and eliminate important fish habitat for spawning and feeding. Negative impacts on commercial and recreational fishing, as well as tourism and scuba diving also have been substantial in the Mediterranean. Prevention and eradication measures have proved to be very expensive even to stable nations like he US, so it’s expected to be an issue to fund for its eradication in Pennsylvania (J.R, 2000).
One way of eradication of C. taxifolia is the containment as well as the lethal treatment of the infested area. This should be combined with efforts of verifying of the absence of the weed from the infestation areas. As a way of treatment ,the weed of covered with a heavy black Polyvinyl chloride under which chlorine was injected in form of a solid as sodium hypochlorite. This kind of eradication has been proved through test in the laboratories, where a sample of the weed had been kept under close surveillance And pvc introduction, there resulted in no further growth of the weed for the next four years. This would reaffirm the confidence of using this approach of eradication (Williams, 2006).
Another method is to use the laid transect line method where the scuba divers swims along the transect lines which are deployed by a small boat. They use a guide-line to maintain their spacing at 1 meter apart whereby they also vary their swimming speed on relation to the visibility and density of the weed. After having tested the different kinds of survey methods, which included the towed divers, cameras, and finally the laser line scan, it has emerged to be the most effective approach to conducting intensive surveys which can locate very small patches of C. taxifolia, even in dense eelgrass beds, is the current method employed. This survey intensity is defined as an eradication level survey in which divers are used to conduct visual searches to ensure total viewing of the study area (Associates, Eradication and Surveillance of, 2003).
Another possible form of control is the introduction of a natural predator into the invaded environment. According to Researchers from the University of Nice in France, they committed themselves to conduct a studying on a tiny a tiny aquatic slug which is believed to be a natural predator and as a result a destroyer of C. Taxifolia Called Elysian subornata. This slug is believed feed entirely on C. Taxifolia. They are believed to stick its proboscis right into the stem and thereby sucking out the white viscous liquid from the stem. Consequently this causes the alga to wither, loss color, and finally die. Following this the slug does absorbs the poison from the algae. The slug contains an enzyme which lenders the poisonous effect of the algae neutral and at the same time the poison keeps the fish from feeding on them. The growth of the killer weed cannot be easily monitored since the slug cannot do well in the Mediterranean waters which are cool. However, introducing any other species can result more problems to an already overburdened ecosystem.
Other Ways to prevent its spread is by preventing the transport of Caulerpa from infested waters into uninfected waters is the most effective way for containing its spread. Good boat hygiene is critical boats that have been washed with warm, soapy water or mild bleach are less likely to spread non-natives (Meinesz, 1991).
It is evident that there lay various solutions to curb the spread of this dangerous weed. This strain of Caulerpa taxifolia has been chosen a U.S. Federal harmful Weed and at present forbidden in the U.S. The alga still exists in the aquarium trade. California today is making an allowance for laws that would ban all the imports of each and every Caulerpa class. Unless strict measure are taken on this specie the whole world will be in danger of it invading in all salty waters.