Odontella sinensis

Division: Bacillariophyta
Class: Coscinodiscophyceae
Order: Triceratiales
Species name: Odontella sinensis Grun.
Synonyms: Biddulphia sinensis Grev.
Common name: A centric diatom
Date of introduction and origin
Odontella sinensis came to European waters in 1889; it was first noted in the North Sea in 1903 and in British waters in 1906 (see Ostenfeld (1908) for details of its spread). It was originally described from the China Sea (Greville 1866 in Boalch & Harbour 1977), but Ostenfeld (1908) considered it was most probably introduced from the Red Sea or Indian Ocean.
Method of introduction
Ballast transport was tentatively suggested by Ostenfeld (1908) and Wallentinus (in press) considers this method of introduction cannot be ruled out.
Reasons for success
Rate of spread and methods involved
It rapidly spread to become widely distributed throughout European waters in less than 10 years (Ostenfeld 1908; Boalch & Harbour 1977; Boalch 1987; Christensen, Koch & Thomsen 1985).
Odontella sinensis has a wide Atlantic distribution including the Baltic Sea (Wallentinus in press) and is now considered to be an important constituent of the winter and spring diatom flora around Britain (Boalch 1987).
Factors likely to influence spread and distribution
Effects on the environment
This species has been a prominent contributor to the winter and spring phytoplankton of the western English Channel (Boalch & Harbour 1977; Boalch 1987).
Effects on commercial interests
Control methods used and effectiveness
None known.
Beneficial effects
Boalch, G.T. 1987. Changes in the phytoplankton of the western English Channel in recent years. British Phycological Journal, 22: 225-235.
Boalch, G.T. 1994. The introduction of non-indigenous marine species to Europe: planktonic species. In: Introduced species in European coastal waters, ed. by C.F. Boudouresque, F. Briand & C. Nolan. European Commission Ecosystems Research Report, No. 8: 28-31.
Boalch, G.T., & Harbour, D.S. 1977. Unusual diatom off the coast of south-west England and its effect on fishing. Nature, 269: 687-688.
Christensen, T., Koch, C., & Thomsen, H.A. 1985. Distribution of algae in Danish salt and brackish waters. Copenhagen. Institut for Sporplanter, University of Copenhagen.
Farnham, W.F. 1980. Studies on aliens in the marine flora of southern England. In: The shore environment, volume 2: ecosystems, ed. by J.H. Price, D.E.G. Irvine & W.F. Farnham, 875-914. London, Academic Press. (Systematics Association Special Volume, No. 17B.)
Greville, R.K. 1866. Descriptions of new and rare diatoms. Series XX. Transactions of the Microscopical Society of London, New Series, 14: 77-86.
Newell, G.E., & Newell, R.C. 1973. Marine plankton - a practical guide. London, Hutchinson Educational Ltd.
Ostenfeld, C.H. 1908. On the immigration of Biddulphia sinensis Grev. and its occurrence in the North Sea during 1903-1907. Meddelelser fra Kommissionen for Havundersogelser, Plankton 1, 6, 1-25.
Wallentinus, I. In press. Status of introductions of non-indigenous marine species to north Atlantic waters: introductions and transfers of plants. ICES co-operative research report.
Acknowledgements (contributors)
Prof. G.R. Hasle, University of Oslo.