Three species of Gracilaria, G. foliifera (Forsk.) Børg., G. verrucosa (Huds.) Papenf., and G. bursa-pastoris (S. M. Gmel.) Silva are recognized from the British flora (Parke & Dixon, 1976). In Britain G. verrucosa is widely distributed, although not common, whereas the other two species are rare and their distribution restricted (Newton, 1931). G. foliifera was described from the Red Sea as Fucus foliifer Forsk. (Børgesen, 1932). Plants referable to this species are now reported from various parts of the world, including both the eastern and western coasts of the north Atlantic (South & Cardinal, 1970; Taylor, 1957, 1960). However, considerable variation exists within species of Gracilaria (e.g. May, 1948), thus delimitation of species is often extremely difficult. Gracilaria foliifera from Britain (Fig. 1 A) is similar morphologically to the original material of Fucus foliifer as illustrated by Børgesen (1932, fig. 1), and therefore, we have limited our consideration to G. foliifera as it occurs in Britain (also see Harvey, 1846, pl. 15). However, little information is available on G. foliifera from the British Isles, and in the present instance we have investigated the life history of this alga in culture together with preliminary results on growth in small-scale tanks with running sea water.