Temperature ecotypes near the southern boundary of the kelp Laminaria saccharina
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- Gerard, V.A. & Du Bois, K.R. Marine Biology (1988) 97: 575. doi:10.1007/BF00391054
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Effects of temperature on survival, growth, and photosynthesis were compared for two USA populations of Laminaria saccharina Lamour. One population was located in New York State, near the southern latitudinal boundary of the species in the western North Atlantic. This southern boundary population was exposed to ambient temperatures ≧20°C for about 6 wk each summer. The second population was located in Maine, toward the center of the latitudinal range of the species, and was rarely exposed to temperatures>17°C. sporophytes from the New York (NY) population exhibited greater tolerance of high temperature than plants from the Maine (ME) site. Juvenile sporophytes from the two sites had similar rates of survivorship and growth at temperatures below 20°C, but showed different responses at 20°C in laboratory experiments. NY plants survived and grew for 6 wk at 20°C. ME plants showed negative growth during wk 2 and 100% mortality during wk 3. NY and ME plants held in situ at the NY site during June to September, 1985, also exhibited differential survivorship when ambient temperatures exceeded 20°C. Results of photosynthesis and dark respiration measurements on NY and ME plants grown at various temperatures suggested that the high-temperature tolerance of NY plants was attributable to their ability to maintain positive daily net C-fixation at 20°C. The high-temperature tolerance of the NY plants appeared to be due to genetic adaptation and is probably crucial to the persistence of the species near its southern boundary.