Studies on Gracilaria changii (Gracilariales, Rhodophyta) from Malaysian mangroves
Gracilaria changii, recorded from Malaysia and Thailand, is one of the more abundant agarophytic seaweeds found in Malaysia. A wild population of Gracilaria changii growing in mangroves was monitored for seasonal variation in agar content and gel strength as well as spore production. Agar yield and gel strength ranged from 12 to 25% dry weight and 294 to 563 g cm−2, respectively, over a 15-month period. Gel strength but not yield was positively correlated with amount of rainfall. Cystocarps were observed throughout the study, but use of sporetraps showed that spore release peaked around July–August and January–February after the two monsoon periods.
Mariculture of Gracilaria changii in shallow ponds in the mangroves, in an irrrigation canal and in a shrimp farm pond was conducted. Average growth rate of cuttings tied to monofilament lines was 3.3 ± 1.7% d−1, 8.4 ± 1.8% d−1 and 3.6 ± 1.6% d−1 respectively. Cuttings were lost to siltation, wave action, predation and heavy epiphytisation.
These studies show that Gracilaria changii has potential commercial application in the agar industry.
Key wordsagar Gracilaria changii mariculture reproduction seasonality seaweed
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