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|Presence of sporophylls in floating kelp rafts of Macrocystis spp.(Phaeophyceae) along the Chilean Pacific Coast
|Macaya, Erasmo C
Hinojosa, Ivan A
Macchiavello, Juan E
Buschmann, Alejandro H
Vasquez, Julio A
Vega, J M Alonso
|Macaya EC, Boltana S, Hinojosa IA, Macchiavello JE, Valdivia N, Vasquez N, Buschmann AH, Vasquez JA, Vega JMA & Thiel M (2005) Presence of sporophylls in floating kelp rafts of Macrocystis spp.(Phaeophyceae) along the Chilean Pacific Coast. Journal of Phycology, 41 (5), pp. 913-922. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1529-8817.2005.00118.x
|Some species of macroalgae continue to live for extended periods of time after detachment and may even maintain reproductive structures, yet very little is known about this process. Here, we describe the presence of sporophylls (with sporogenous tissues) on floating kelp rafts of Macrocystis spp. along the coast of Chile. Surveys were conducted at nine sites (18-50° S) during austral summer 2002, and floating kelp rafts were seen and collected at seven of these nine sites (between 22 and 50° S). Fifteen (26.8%) of the 56 samples had sporophylls, indicating maintenance of sporophylls after detachment. Some of the kelp sporophytes with reproductive blades showed signs of having been afloat for long periods (indicated by the large size of attached stalked barnacles). Additionally, experiments showed that floating kelps released viable zoospores. To understand the reproductive dynamics of floating kelps, we compared these results with information from attached populations of Macrocystis spp. at nearby coastal sites. In general, attached kelp had higher proportions of sporophylls than floating rafts, suggesting that detachment may negatively affect reproductive status. Nevertheless, floating kelps remained functionally reproductive, suggesting that zoospores may be dispersed via floating rafts. Published reports on other macroalgae indicate that some species (Lessoniaceae, Fucaceae, and Sargassaceae) are fertile and probably release zoospores or zygotes while floating or drifting in ocean currents. Because dispersal distances achieved by spores of most macroalgae are relatively short, release of spores from floating algae may be an alternative mechanism of long-distance dispersal.
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