Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 15, 2017

Morphological changes with depth in the calcareous brown alga Padina pavonica

Katharina Bürger, Elisabeth L. Clifford and Michael Schagerl
From the journal Botanica Marina


The calcareous brown alga Padina pavonica (L.) Thivy (Phaeophyceae, Dictyotales) is common worldwide in the sublittoral of warm-temperate coasts. We studied its distribution and changes of morphology and thallus anatomy along a light gradient. Specimens were collected at different depths in the Bay of Calvi (Corsica, Mediterranean) during spring and autumn. We sampled individuals for mapping and recorded a significant decrease of both coverage and number of individuals with depth, but an increase in frond size. Frond thickness and cell volumes (cell length, height, width) were measured and compared to irradiance levels and between two seasons. Fronds in spring were small and thick and contained larger cells than specimens collected in autumn. Additionally, fronds from shallow areas were thicker than those from deeper areas. Fronds always consisted of three cell layers, and both surfaces were calcified. A carbonate cover (carbonate content per unit dry mass and frond area) was present on both surfaces in both seasons, with a significantly lower cover in spring. In spring, the beginning of the growing season for Padina, the growth rates at sheltered and exposed sites and from different depths were all similar, averaging 0.45 mm day−1.


We thank G. Draxler and A. Hannak for technical equipment and assistance in plant anatomy, J. Hannak and S. Kompatscher for their helping hands in the field (mapping), and the Stareso team for local support and providing scuba diving gear. Analysis and manuscript preparation were partly supported by the Phycomorph project (COST Action FA1406).


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Received: 2016-7-8
Accepted: 2017-2-3
Published Online: 2017-3-15
Published in Print: 2017-4-24

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