, Volume 128, Issue 4, pp 695-703

Reproductive biology of the red alga Polysiphonia lanosa (Ceramiales) in the Bay of Fundy, Canada

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The purpose of this investigation was to establish reproductive phenology of the dioecious marine floridean red alga Polysiphonia lanosa (L.) Tandy. Specifically, the distribution and frequencies of male and female plants, timing of their sexual maturity, fecundity and success of fertilization were investigated. The presence of cystocarps was taken as an indication of syngamy. Populations of P. lanosa in the Bay of Fundy reproduce in spring, summer and autumn. Both male and female filaments were present in equal abundance at all sampling locations, grew in close proximity, and occurred with equal abundance at all elevations above chart datum. During the growing season most of the mature plants contained reproductive organs with apparently functional gametangia containing gametes the structure and behavior of which conformed to those reported in the literature for other species of the genus. Male and female plants of P. lanosa matured synchronously during late May to early July at all collecting sites. The ratio of spermatia to carpogonia calculated for the sampled population was high, 3000–4800 spermatia:1 carpogonium. At the end of the growing season (late October) the fertilization success was at its maximum of 50 to 90% and at its minimum in July at 24%. The three free-living life-history phases (females, males and tetrasporophytes) were abundant and occurred with equal frequency, indicating that a complete life cycle was common at the studied location.

Received: 10 December 1996 / Accepted: 16 January 1997