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Reproductive synchrony in a habitat-forming kelp and its relationship with environmental conditions
Mohring, M.B.; Wernberg, T.; Kendrick, G.A.; Rule, M.J. (2013). Reproductive synchrony in a habitat-forming kelp and its relationship with environmental conditions. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 160(1): 119-126.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Mohring, M.B.
  • Wernberg, T.
  • Kendrick, G.A.
  • Rule, M.J.

    Key biological processes such as the timing and synchrony of reproduction, are sensitive to fluctuations in the environment, as well as alterations in the physiology and behaviour of individuals and the ecology of populations. The main aim of this study was to identify patterns in reproductive timing and relationships with prevailing environmental conditions, for the major habitat-forming alga in temperate Australia, Ecklonia radiata (C. Agardh) J. Agardh. We observed strong synchronous patterns of zoospore production across spatial scales from hundreds of metres to tens of kilometres, with populations of E. radiata reproducing from mid-summer to the end of autumn. High zoospore densities were positively related to sea temperature and E. radiata released zoospores in temperatures well above previously documented thermal tolerance limits for other Laminariales. Reproductive timing was also negatively related to seasonal increase in wave exposure. We conclude that E. radiata undergoes synchronous reproduction which can be linked to its annual growth cycle and natural environmental fluctuations, to promote growth and survival of recruits.

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