, Volume 326, Issue 1, pp 205–211 | Cite as

Micropopulation differentiation in phenol content and susceptibility to herbivory in the Chilean kelp Lessonia nigrescenss (Phaeophyta, Laminariales)

  • Enrique A. Martínez
5. Population studies


Micropopulation differences in phenol content between intertidal and subtidal individuals of the kelp Lessonia nigrescens were found. Subtidal plants showed: (1) significantly higher phenol content than intertidal individuals, in vegetative and reproductive tissues, (2) intra-plant differences, with higher content in apical frond tissues, (3) higher resistance to consumption by herbivorous fishes. The microscopic progeny of subtidal plants showed the same trend as adult plants: (1) haploid spores from subtidal plants had higher phenol content than spores from intertidal individuals, and (2) the microscopic sporophytes derived from subtidal spores and gametophytes were less consumed by herbivorous snails (Tegula tridentata) than those derived from intertidal plant propagules. No increase in phenol content was detected after mechanical injury to experimental fronds, or after transplantation to the subtidal environment.

In addition to the absence of inducible responses, the different phenol content between intertidal and subtidal individuals, in adult diploid plants and also in the haploid progeny, suggests that both environments differ someway enough to fix the mentioned features on the plants of Lessonia nigrescens. It is likely that the differences in herbivory between the two distributional extremes contributed to the observed pattern.

Key words

herbivory intra-population variability kelp Lessonia phenols seaweed 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Enrique A. Martínez
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Ecología, Facultad de Ciencias BiológicasPontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile

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