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Grazer avoidance may explain the invasiveness of the red alga Gracilaria vermiculophylla in Scandinavian waters
Nejrup, L.B.; Pedersen, M.F.; Vinzent, J. (2012). Grazer avoidance may explain the invasiveness of the red alga Gracilaria vermiculophylla in Scandinavian waters. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 159(8): 1703-1712. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-012-1959-9
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Nejrup, L.B.
  • Pedersen, M.F.
  • Vinzent, J.

Abstract
    The invasive red alga Gracilaria vermiculophylla has quickly spread across Europe, but it is unclear whether its success is based on a high tolerance to variations in environmental conditions or to the absence of native grazers that feed on this alga. We tested whether native invertebrate grazers prefer native algae to G. vermiculophylla. Feeding preferences of three common herbivores were quantified when offered G. vermiculophylla and native Fucus vesiculosus, Ceramium virgatum, and Ulva intestinalis in no-, two- and multiple-choice trials. Herbivore growth was measured when fed each of the algae separately. Grazers consumed G. vermiculophylla in no-choice trials, but avoided generally this alga when having a choice. U. intestinalis was always preferred over G. vermiculophylla, and grazers fed with U. intestinalis grew faster than those fed with G. vermiculophylla. We conclude that grazers avoid G. vermiculophylla to most native algae, which may benefit G. vermiculophylla in northern European estuaries.

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