The kelp Saccharina japonica is a dominant seaweed along the Sanriku coast where fisheries for sea urchin and abalone are among the most prosperous in Japan. We investigated the phenology of the kelp at depths of 6, 9 and 12 m from March 2015 to March 2016. The sea urchin Mesocentrotus nudus, a dominant herbivore off the coast, was also monitored with respect to its gonads for fishery use. Juvenile kelp appeared in March and rapidly elongated until May. Weight of the kelp significantly increased from April to July. Sori formation commenced from September and ceased in December. Density and biomass of the kelp were higher in the shallower sites than in the deeper one throughout the year. The highest biomasses recorded between July and October were 3773, 1939 and 501 g dry weight m−2 at depths of 6, 9 and 12 m, respectively. No regrowth of kelp blades was observed, indicating that S. japonica in this region has an annual life cycle. The gonad index of the sea urchin in the 12-m site was lower than that in the 6- and 9-m sites, indicating the close relation of the gonad index with the biomass of the kelp.
Fisheries Science – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 1, 2017
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