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Field and culture studies of a population of endarachne binghamiae (phaeophyta) from southern california¹

Brophy, Thomas C., Murray, Steven N.
Journal of phycology 1989 v.25 no.1 pp. 6-15
Scytosiphonales, correlation, grazing, life history, longevity, mortality, sand, seasonal variation, seawater, sexual reproduction, spring, summer, temperature, thallus, winter, California
Abundances of the erect, blade phase of Endarachne binghamiae J. Ag. (Scytosiphonales, Phaeophyta) varied seasonally at a southern California rocky intertidal site. Blade cover and density were much greater in the fall through early spring; blades were mostly absent from quadrats during the summer. Blade abundances were negatively correlated with both seasonal variations in seawater temperature and photoperiod. Laboratory culture studies failed to provide evidence for sexual reproduction. The life history appears to be of the “direct” type with plurangia-produced zooids germinating into crustose disks. Most disks developed erect blade clusters under spring/fall (17° C) and winter (13° C) temperatures over the range of natural photoperiods employed (14:10, 12:12, 10:14 h LD). In contrast, cultures held under the summer temperature (21° C) produced almost entirely crustose growths regardless of photoperiod. Similar results were obtained for cultures grown at 100 and 200 μE · m⁻²· s⁻¹. E. binghamiae blades were fertile throughout the year and produced viable zooids indicating that reproductive seasonality did not influence the seasonal pattern of blade abundance. Culture and field studies suggest that the initiation of new erect blade clusters from crustose disks is confined to the cooler months of the year (winter and spring). The summer reduction or absence of E. binghamiae blades appears to be due to increased mortality rates and temperature constraints on the development of new erect bladed thalli. Hypothetical causes of mortality are desiccation stress, sand burial, increased grazing activity and a genetically-based short life span.