Five diatom species were isolated from settlementplates at Southern Ocean Mariculture, Victoria,Australia (Navicula sp., Naviculajeffreyi, Cylindrotheca closterium, Cocconeis sp., Amphora sp.) and tested insettlement experiments with Haliotis rubralarvae. Settlement was very low on single speciesdiatom films and varied between 1%–6%. Depending onthe species combination larvae preferred to settle onfilms with mixed diatom species than single speciesfilms. The highest settlement was achieved with amixed film of Navicula sp. and Amphora sp.Five and ten-day-old germlings of Sporolithondurum induced settlement of the abalone Haliotisrubra. However, the settlement rate was significantlylower on germlings than on the whole thallus of thealga. Germlings inoculated with the diatom Navicula sp. induced higher settlement than films ofthe diatom species alone. High settlement of up to52% was also achieved with germlings of the greenalga Ulvella lens. Settlement was reduced onU. lens squares inoculated with the diatom Navicula sp. but higher than on films of the diatomalone. The settlement rate was higher if plates withU. lens were previously grazed by juvenileabalone.Post-larval growth rates were higher on monospecificdiatom films than on U. lens or on S.durum. The best growth rate was obtained with Navicula sp. U. lens and S. durum areboth good settlement inducers, but are notsufficient to support rapid growth of young H.rubra post-larvae. Survival was low on U. lensand on the diatom C. closterium. We suggest thatcommercial nursery plates seeded with U. lenswill result in high and consistent settlement, whilean inoculum with Navicula sp. will ensuresufficient food for rapid growth of the post-larvae.
abalone larvaecoralline red algaediatomsearly growthHaliotis rubrasettlementSporolithon durumUlvella lens