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Intriguing asexual life in marginal populations of the brown seaweed Fucus vesiculosus
Department of Marine Ecology, Tjärnö Marine Biological Laboratory, Göteborg University.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Ecology and Environmental Science.
Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences, Kalmar University.
CCMAR-Centre of Marine Sciences, University of Algarve, Gambelas, Portugal.
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2005 (English)In: Molecular Ecology, ISSN 0962-1083, E-ISSN 1365-294X, Vol. 14, no 2, 647-651 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Reproduction of attached large brown algae is known to occur only by sexual zygotes. Using microsatellites we show evolution of asexual reproduction in the bladder wrack promoting population persistence in the brackish water Baltic Sea (< 6 psu). Here a dwarf morph ofFucus vesiculosus is dominated by a single clone but clonal reproduction is also present in the common form of the species. We describe a possible mechanism for vegetative reproduction of attached algae, and conclude that clonality plays an important role in persistence and dispersal of these marginal populations, in which sexual reproduction is impaired by low salinity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Leicester: Blackwell Scientific Publications , 2005. Vol. 14, no 2, 647-651 p.
Keyword [en]
Cluster Analysis, Evolution, Fucus/genetics/*physiology, Gene Frequency, Genetics; Population, Microsatellite Repeats/genetics, North Sea, Population Dynamics, Reproduction; Asexual/*physiology, Seawater/analysis. adventitious branches, Baltic Sea, brackish water, brown macroalgae, clonal reproduction, Fucus vesiculosus, geographical parthenogenesis, marginal habitat
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-4387DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2005.02425.xPubMedID: 15660953OAI: diva2:143462
Available from: 2005-02-03 Created: 2005-02-03 Last updated: 2011-03-15Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Macroalgae in the Baltic Sea: responses to low salinity and nutrient enrichment in Ceramium and Fucus
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Macroalgae in the Baltic Sea: responses to low salinity and nutrient enrichment in Ceramium and Fucus
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The brackish Baltic Sea is a marginal environment for both marine and freshwater species. The rate of ecological differentiation is presumably high due to strong selection pressure from a gradient of decreasing salinity that has been present in its current state for only about 3 000 years. Even more recently, increased nutrient loading due to human activities has affected the growth rate of species, with potential effects on their competitive interactions and responses to other regulating factors. I have investigated the potential effects of low salinity and nutrient enrichment on the distributional ranges of two marine macroalgae with a wide distribution in the Baltic Sea, the red alga Ceramium tenuicorne (Kütz.) Wærn and the brown alga Fucus vesiculosus L.

A field study in the northern Baltic Sea indicated a strong relationship between the community structure of macroalgae and abiotic factors even on a small, local scale. The abiotic factors are potentially modulated by eutrophication, which may have a strong effect on the depth distribution and abundance of macroalgae. On a regional scale, laboratory experiments suggested that nutrient enrichment is unlikely to affect the distribution of Ceramium and Fucus along the salinity gradient. Growth in Ceramium from the Baltic Proper was enhanced by nitrate and phosphate, but the response did not override growth constraints due to low salinity. Ceramium from the Gulf of Bothnia had an inherently lower growth rate that was not positively affected by nitrate and phosphate increase. In Fucus vesiculosus, reproductive performance was impaired by nitrate and phosphate levels corresponding to ambient levels in eutrophicated areas of the Baltic Sea, when measured by their effect on zygote attachment, germination, and rhizoid development.

The wide distribution of Ceramium in the inner Baltic Sea is probably related to local adaptation, rather than a generalized tolerance of different salinity levels. Ecotypic differences were observed when comparing strains from the Baltic Proper (salinity 7 psu) and the Gulf of Bothnia (4 psu). A high rate of vegetative reproduction was evident, although sexual reproduction was occasionally observed in salinity 4. In Fucus vesiculosus, genetic and morphological analyses of sympatric and allopatric populations of the common, vesicular, morphotype and a dwarf morphotype, characteristic for the Gulf of Bothnia, showed that the dwarf morphotype represents a separate evolutionary lineage. Also, vegetative reproduction was observed in Fucus for the first time, as supported by genetic and experimental data.

The results show that the biota of the inner Baltic Sea may have unique adaptive and genetic properties, and that it is highly relevant to consider subspecies diversity in Baltic Sea management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Ekologi och geovetenskap, 2005. 40 p.
Ecology, adaptation, asexual reproduction, Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, salinity, macroalgae, nutrients, sexual reproduction, stress, Ekologi
National Category
Research subject
Ecological Botany
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-441 (URN)91-7305-816-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2005-02-25, Lilla hörsalen, KBC, Umeå, 10:00
Available from: 2005-02-03 Created: 2005-02-03Bibliographically approved

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