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Effect of Temperature and Irradiance on the Release, Attachment and Survival of Spores of Gracilaria pacifica Abbott (Rhodophyta)
The maintenance of isomorphic life histories in algae has been difficult to explain when there is no difference between the ecological niche of the two adult phases. However, at the level of spores, physiological differences could exist in the reproduction and development between tetraspores and carpospores that could influence the composition of both phases in the field and interspecific competition. The release, attachment (winter vs. beginning of autumn) and survival (seasonal), of tetraspores and carpospores of Gracilaria pacifica Abbott from Estero de Punta Banda, Baja California, México, were studied in a gradient of temperature and irradiance. The release of tetraspores was directly affected by irradiance, while that of carpospores was affected by irradiance and temperature. The attachment of tetraspores was directly affected by temperature and season while the attachment of carpospores showed a response to changes in irradiance. Survival was influenced mainly by seasons. In spring, summer, and autumn (May, August–September, and November/December respectively) both types of spores responded similarly, with the lowest survival rate in summer and the highest in other seasons. However in winter (January/February), the rate of survival of tetraspores was an order of magnitude greater than in carpospores. The highest survival rate occurred at 21 °C and 24 °C, whereas the survival rate at 15 °C was close to zero for both types of spores. These different responses between tetraspores and carpospores, suggest a different ecophysiological response with regard to survival and interspecific competition in nature of the gametophyte vs sporophyte.
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