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SEAWEEDS

PART I MARINE BOTANY FALL 2009 Dr. Mitra

WHAT ARE SEAWEEDS?


Macroalgae found in estuarine and marine environments. Non-vascular, multicellular, and photosynthetic plants. Chlorophyta, Rhodophyta, and Phaeophyta ---wall chemistry, chloroplast structures and pigmentation, arrangement of flagella in motile cells, and life cycles. Found in polar, tropical, and temperate waters around the globe.

WHY DO WE CARE ABOUT SEAWEEDS?


Primary producers-important role in the marine trophic structure Calcareous seaweeds major contributors to the structure of coral reefs (they can make up 30% of the reef). Porolithon and Lithophyllum Mangroves and seagrass bedsseaweeds can provide a rich source of food for detritus feeders such as fiddler crabs. These seaweeds can also be important food sources for amphipods and isopods.

Gracilaria-epiphyte of Zostera marina Photo: Dr. Mitra

WHY DO WE CARE ABOUT SEAWEEDS?


Seaweeds that are edible are called seavegetables Health-promoting/medicinal properties (treatment of cancers, heart diseases, rheumatism, blood sugar, and flu) Effective fertilizers, soil conditioners, and are a source of livestock feed Used in wide range of products from ice cream to fabric dyes.

WHY DO WE CARE ABOUT SEAWEEDS?


Used as biological scrubbersUlva Gels from seaweedsAgar is derived from red seaweeds (Gelidium, Gracilaria, Hypnea, and Pterocladia). It is used in microbiological growth medium and food industry. Carrageenans are obtained from Chondrus and Gigartina. Alginates are found in the cell walls of many brown seaweeds. Primary sources are Macrocystis, Ascophyllum, and Laminaria.

SEAWEEDS AS AN ECOLOGICAL PROBLEM


Nutrient and sediment loads
Eutrophication Death of organisms Water quality deteriorates Development of opportunistic and tolerant seaweeds that act as a purifying system

Recycling of nutrients and pollutants in the ecosystem

Anoxia Increase in herbivore population

Photosynthesis declines

Environmental conditions become unfavorable and seaweeds die and decompose


toxicity rises Large biomass

ECOLOGICAL CYCLE OF MACROALGA


Dispersal phase Unicellular spores, zygotes Reproductive phase Formation of reproductive structures and release of reproductive stages Recruitment phase Attachment to a substrate and growth starts.

Vegetative growth phase Enlargement of macrothallus

TYPES OF SEAWEEDS (MORPHOLOGICAL TYPES)


Sheet like Filamentous group Coarsely branched group Thick-leathery group Jointed calcareous group Crustose group

SHEET GROUP
Thin, tubular or sheetlike. Soft Photosynthetic activity-high Toughness-low Examples: Ulva, Enteromorpha, Porphyra.
Photos: Dr. Mitras Lab

Ulva lactuca

Enteromorpha intestinalis

FILAMENTOUS GROUP
Delicate branches Texture-Soft Photosynthetic activity-moderate Toughness-low Chaetomorpha, Cladophora, Ceramium
Ceramium rubrum

Photo: Dr. Mitras Lab

COARSELY BRANCHED GROUP


Coarsely branched Pseudoparenchymatous to parenchymatous Texturefleshy to wiry Toughness-low Gigartina, Chondrus, Agardhiella

Gracilaria tikvahiae

Photos: Dr. Mitras lab


Agardhiella tenera

THICK LEATHERY GROUP


Thick blades and branches Texture-leathery Photosynthetic rate low Toughness-high Fucus, Laminaria, Sargassum, Padina

Fucus vesiculosus

Photo: Dr. Mitras Lab

JOINTED-CALCAREOUS TYPE
Calcareous, upright Calcified segments, flexible joints Texture-stony Photosynthetic ratevery low Toughness-very high Corallina, Halimeda

Corallina officinalis

Reference: http://seaweed.ucg.ie/descriptions/Coroff.html

CRUSTOSE GROUP
Encrusting Calcified, some uncalcified Texture-stony, tough Photosynthetic activity-low Toughness-very high Encrusting corallines, Ralfsia,Hildenbrandia

Hildenbrandia

Reference: http://www.guiamarina.com/chile/02%20plants/Rhodophyceae/Hildenbrandia%20sp..htm

BENTHIC MARINE ALGAEMORPHOLOGICAL TYPES


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Which forms have the least resistance to herbivores? Which forms have the highest resistance to herbivores? Which ones are late successional forms?
Sheet like Filamentous group Coarsely branched group Thick-leathery group Jointed calcareous group Crustose group

OPPORTUNISTIC VS LATE SUCCESSIONAL FORMS

Photos: Dr. Mitras Lab