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Coral Reefs

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 287–295 | Cite as

Fragment generation, survival, and attachment of Dictyota spp. at Conch Reef in the Florida Keys, USA

  • L.W. Herren
  • L.J. Walters
  • K.S. Beach
Report

Abstract

During the past decade, the relative abundance of the brown macroalgae Dictyota spp. has been high in the Florida Keys. Recent studies have shown that members of this genus successfully reproduce via vegetative fragmentation. To investigate the importance of fragmentation on the reef community, this study examined: (1) the degree of epiphytism on benthic organisms, (2) the rate of fragment production through fish foraging activities, (3) the likelihood of fragment entanglement, and (4) the fragment attachment and success rate. It was found that reef fish contributed substantially to the fragment pool; furthermore, most fish-produced fragments produced rhizoids and attached to sand grains within 24 h in the field. Fragments of Dictyota spp. most commonly became entangled around and then attached themselves to the green alga Halimeda tuna, and other Dictyota spp. These results suggest that vegetative fragmentation of Dictyota spp. plays an important role in the changing community structure on the Florida Keys reef tract.

Keywords

Asexual reproduction Vegetative fragmentation Macroalgae Herbivory Epiphyte Halimeda 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Funding was provided by UNCW/National Undersea Research Center Grant numbers 99-27 and 2001-07, Florida Sea Grant, Florida Institute of Oceanography, University of Central Florida, and DANA and DELO grants from the University of Tampa. Thanks to Dorothy Byron, Julie Liss, Heidi Borgeas, Lisa Wall, Andrea Patka, Becky Kagan, Tony Digirolamo, Amanda Kahn, Richard M. Herren, Dr Franklin Snelson Jr, Dr I. Jack Stout, Dr Richard Gleeson, the anonymous reviewers, Dr David Nickerson, and the scientists and staff at NURC, especially Otto Rutten, Steven Miller, Craig Cooper, Kendall Boykin, Thor Dunmire, and Byron Croker.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Southeast Florida Aquatic Preserve OfficeFlorida Department of Environmental ProtectionFort PierceUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of TampaTampaUSA

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