Original Papers


, Volume 89, Issue 4, pp 464-470

First online:

Biogeographic comparisons of marine algal polyphenolics: evidence against a latitudinal trend

  • Nancy M. TargettAffiliated withGraduate College of Marine Studies, University of Delaware
  • , Loren D. CoenAffiliated withDauphin Island Sea LabUniversity of Southern Alabama
  • , Anne A. BoettcherAffiliated withGraduate College of Marine Studies, University of Delaware
  • , Christopher E. TannerAffiliated withDivision of Natural Science and Mathematics, St Mary's College

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Marine allelochemicals generally are present in greater quantity and diversity in tropical than in temperate regions. Marine algal polyphenolics have been reported as an apparent exception to this biogeographic trend, with literature values for phenolic concentrations significantly higher in temperate than in tropical brown algae. In contrast, our results, the first reported for Caribbean brown algae (orders Dictyotales and Fucales), show that many species have high phenolic levels. In addition, both our study and previous studies with north temperate and tropical species demonstrate that there is marked variation in algal phenolic levels within species from different locations. We conclude that high phenolic concentrations occur in species from both temperate and tropical regions, indicating that latitude alone is not a reasonable predictor of plant phenolic concentrations.

Key words

Phenolics Phaeophytes Brown algae Plant-herbivore interactions Biogeography