Variable and complemtary effects of herbivores on different life stages of bloom-forming macroalgae

Lotze, Heike and Worm, Boris (2000) Variable and complemtary effects of herbivores on different life stages of bloom-forming macroalgae Marine Ecology Progress Series, 200 . pp. 167-175. DOI 10.3354/meps200167.

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Increased nutrient loading favors macroalgal blooms in eutrophied coastal ecosystems. The main counteracting factor on this bottom-up support is top-down control by consumers. We asked (1) whether herbivore control on 2 bloom-forming macroalgae in the Baltic Sea varies between different algal life stages, (2) whether herbivores selectively feed on Enteromorpha spp. (Chlorophyceae) thereby supporting dominance of Pilayella littoralis (Phaeophyceae), and (3) whether various herbivore species differ in their effects. In comparative field and laboratory experiments, we analyzed herbivore pressure and selectivity on germling density and adult thalli of Enteromorpha spp. and P. littoralis. In the field, herbivores reduced macroalgal recruitment by 80% within 14 d indicating strong herbivore control at early life stages. Recruits of Enteromorpha spp. were significantly preferred over P. littoralis Adult thalli of both algae showed similar growth rates, but grazing rates were significantly higher on Enteromorpha spp. In laboratory experiments, Idotea chelipes (Isopoda), Littorina saxatilis (Gastropoda) and Gammarus locusta (Amphipoda) strongly reduced germling density, whereas effects of L. littorea were weak. I. chelipes and L. saxatilis significantly preferred germlings of Enteromorpha spp. over P. littoralis. I. chelipes had strong effects on adult Enteromorpha spp. but not on P. littoralis. The effects of G. locusta and L. littorea on both adult algae were smaller and not selective, and L. saxatilis did not feed on adults at all. Different herbivore feeding modes are discussed. We conclude that strong and selective herbivory on juvenile and adult Enteromorpha spp. favors dominance of P. littoralis in the Baltic. An effective control of macroalgal blooms in eutrophied areas can be supported by sustaining high herbivore density and species richness considering the variable and complementary effects of different herbivore species on different algal life stages.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Eutrophication; Macroalgal blooms; Species composition; Dominance; Grazing; Selectivity; Diversity; Feeding mode; Enteromorpha; Pilayella; Baltic Sea
Research affiliation: OceanRep > Institute for Marine Science Kiel
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.3354/meps200167
ISSN: 0171-8630
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2008 17:24
Last Modified: 09 May 2018 12:16

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