Multiple federal, state and local agencies have been notified of an invasive algae species discovered in Newport Bay, California in March 2021. The algae, which is native to Florida and other subtropical and tropical locales, is scientifically known as Caulerpa prolifera. It can grow quickly, choking out native seaweeds and potentially harming marine life through lost habitat.
A similar species of invasive algae, Caulerpa taxifolia, was identified in California in 2000 and was successfully eradicated through a comprehensive joint local, state and federal effort in 2006. Due to the similarity between these two species, scientists believe this algae species may pose a serious threat to our local coastal ecosystems.
However, it is imperative that the public avoid contact with the plant due to its extreme ease of recolonizing from just tiny fragments. If you believe you have seen this invasive algae, please complete a sighting report. Please do not collect a specimen, as this may lead to further spread.