, Volume 155, Issue 3, pp 559–569 | Cite as

Fouling mediates grazing: intertwining of resistances to multiple enemies in the brown alga Fucus vesiculosus

  • Veijo Jormalainen
  • Sofia A. Wikström
  • Tuija Honkanen
Plant-Animal Interactions - Original Paper


Macroalgae have to cope with multiple natural enemies, such as herbivores and epibionts. As these are harmful for the host, the host is expected to show resistance to them. Evolution of resistance is complicated by the interactions among the enemies and the genetic correlations among resistances to different enemies. Here, we explored genetic variation in resistance to epibiosis and herbivory in the brown alga Fucus vesiculosus, both under conditions where the enemies coexisted and where they were isolated. F. vesiculosus showed substantial genetic variation in the resistance to both epibiosis and grazing. Grazing pressure on the alga was generally lower in the presence than in the absence of epibiota. Furthermore, epibiosis modified the susceptibility of different algal genotypes to grazing. Resistances to epibiosis and grazing were independent when measured separately for both enemies but positively correlated when both these enemies coexisted. Thus, when the enemies coexisted, the fate of genotypes with respect to these enemies was intertwined. Genotypic correlation between phlorotannins, brown-algal phenolic secondary metabolites, and the amount of epibiota was negative, indicating that these compounds contribute to resistance to epibiosis. In addition, phlorotannins correlated also with the resistance to grazing, but this correlation disappeared when grazing occurred in the absence of epibiota. This indicates that the patterns of selection for the type of the resistance as well as for the resistance traits vary with the occurrence patterns of the enemies.


Genetic Correlation Herbivory Treatment Specialized Defense Defense Trait Positive Genetic Correlation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to Elina Vainio and Nina Heikkilä for help in conducting the experiment and Krista Tulonen for analyzing the phlorotannins. The manuscript benefitted from the comments by Prof. Tony Underwood and two anonymous referees. The Archipelago Research Institute of the University of Turku provided the facilities for the experiment.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Veijo Jormalainen
    • 1
  • Sofia A. Wikström
    • 2
    • 3
  • Tuija Honkanen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Section of EcologyUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  2. 2.Department of BotanyStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  3. 3.AquaBiota Water ResearchStockholmSweden

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