Marine Biology

, Volume 92, Issue 4, pp 483–487 | Cite as

Seasonal and geographic variation in chlorophyll level of Elysia tuca (Ascoglossa: Opisthobranchia)

  • G. R. Waugh
  • K. B. Clark


Elysia tuca Marcus were collected from the Florida Keys (USA) during 1978–1979, with the aim of clarifying the physiological significance of their kleptoplastids by studying variations in the chlorophyll content of the slugs. The chlorophyll levels in the field populations varied seasonally, with peak levels in autumn. Peak reproductive activity coincided with maximum chlorophyll levels, carbon fixation, and rate of macromolecular conversion of kleptoplastid (= “symbiotic chloroplast”) photosynthates. Changes in chlorophyll level are probably controlled by rate of feeding, which is in turn governed by such factors as algal density and climatic factors (light and temperature). Chlorophyll level and individual weight varied with location, with significant differences between sites in the Upper Keys and the Lower Keys. Environmental factors control benefits of kleptoplastid retention, and suggest that photosynthate yield is an important subsidy of reproductive output.


Chlorophyll Environmental Factor Chlorophyll Content Climatic Factor Geographic Variation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. R. Waugh
    • 1
  • K. B. Clark
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesFlorida Institute of TechnologyMelbourneUSA

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