Dispersal in kelps: factors affecting spore swimming and competency

Academic Article


  • Algal spores can contribute to their own nutrition (via photosynthesis) during dispersal. The authors explored the dispersal potential of Macrocystis pyrifera and Pterygophora californica by examining: 1) how long their spores can swim, 2) the contribution of energy derived from photosynthesis to spore swimming duration, and 3) the ability of spores to germinate and attach after they stop swimming. Under photosynthetically saturating irradiance no spores of either species can swim longer than 120 h; <10% of the spores were still swimming after 72 h. When placed in the dark, spores did not swim longer than 72 h; <10% remained swimming after 48 h. Spores did not die after they stopped swimming; most germinated in the water column and retained their capacity to produce viable sporophyte recruits. Settlement density declined in Macrocystis and increased in Pterygophora. Thus, the viable planktonic stage of these algae is not necessarily restricted to the spore but may include later life history stages. -from Authors
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Ecology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Reed DC; Amsler CD; Ebeling AW
  • Start Page

  • 1577
  • End Page

  • 1585
  • Volume

  • 73
  • Issue

  • 5