The possibility that fucoid algae inhabiting the upper shore might possess physiological or morphological mechanisms for avoiding drought, was investigated experimentally. The four species chiefly investigated characteristically occupy different levels on the shore withPelvetia canaliculata (L.) Dene, et Thur. the highest, followed by Fucus spiralis L., Ascophyllum nodosum (L.) Le Jol. and finally Fucus serratus L. Under controlled conditions dehydration proceeded as a roughly logarithmic function with time in all species. Pelvetia lost water at a slightly higher flux than the Fucus species, but this did not reflect a difference in epidermal resistance to water loss, for rates of water loss from surfaces composed either of Pelvetia or of F. spiralis plants were identical and about 84% as fast as that from a free water surface of the same area. When dried at water potentials between - 395 and - 150 barsF. spiralis retained significantly more water per 100 g dry matter than either Pelvetia or F. serratus, but in drier conditions, all three species retained similar amounts. There was a close correlation between percentage dry matter of the thallus and the amount of bound water retained. Pelvetia consistently had the highest dry matter content, and also the
Botanica Marina – de Gruyter
Published: Jan 1, 1979
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