, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 197-205

Seasonal growth in Laminaria longicruris: Relations with dissolved inorganic nutrients and internal reserves of nitrogen

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Observations have been made on seasonal fluctuations in dissolved inorganic nutrients, internal reserves of nitrogen and growth rates in Laminaria longicruris. The onset of winter growth in shallow-water stations (6 and 9 m) correlated well with improved dissolved nitrate conditions in the sea. During the winter, reserves of NO 3 - were accumulated by the plants and reached maximum values of 150 μmoles per g fresh weight in March. This represents a concentration factor of approximately 28,000 over the ambient levels, or an internal nitrogen reserve of 2.1% of the dry weight of the tissue. Depletion of this nitrogen pool followed the disappearance of the external NO 3 - with a lag period of up to 2 months. Rapid kelp growth was measured during this period. Reserves of organic nitrogen also reached maximum values in March and declined slowly throughout the summer into autumn. It is suggested that the combined inorganic and organic nitrogen reserves sustain the rapid growth rates into July and at reduced rate through the late summer. Fertilization of an experimental perimental kelp bed with NaNO3 increased the internal plant reserves of NO 3 - and produced a much improved summer growth rate. The enriched plants developed very small reserves of carbohydrate during the rapid summer growth phase.

NRCC No. 15549.
Communicated by T.R. Parsons, Vancouver