Marine macroalgae in temperate regions are constantly exposed to colonization by fouling organisms, but the intensity of fouling fluctuates in time. We, therefore, hypothesized that a macroalgal species from these latitudes should be able to adjust its antifouling defense to the prevailing colonization pressure. To test this assumption, fouling pressure in the Western Baltic Sea as well as the activity of surface extracts gained from the non-native Gracilaria vermiculophylla against the diatom Stauroneis constricta and the filamentous alga Ceramium tenuicorne were assessed over one vegetation period on a monthly basis. We used two solvents with different polarities to extract chemical compounds from the alga. Both, hexane and dichloromethane (DCM) surface extracts, inhibited settlement of C. tenuicorne, while only hexane surface extracts deterred S. constricta. Furthermore, the activities of both extracts fluctuated on the scale of months and the fluctuations in the activity against C. tenuicorne, which were observed in DCM extracts, correlated with the intensity of fouling pressure that C. tenuicorne inflicted on G. vermiculophylla in the field. Thus, G. vermiculophylla appears to be able to adjust its antifouling defenses—at least partly—to fouling pressure.
Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 4, 2018
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