Cultivation of the brown alga Sargassum horneri: sexual reproduction and seedling production in tank culture under reduced solar irradiance in ambient temperature
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As a large conspicuous intertidal brown alga, individuals of Sargassum horneri can reach a length of more than 7 m with a fresh weight of 3 kg along the coasts of the Eastern China Sea. The biomass of this alga as a vital component in coastal water ecology has been well documented. In recent years, a steady disappearance of the algal biomass along the once densely populated coastal areas of the Eastern China Sea has drawn attention in China. Efforts have been made to reconstruct the subtidal algal flora or even to grow the alga by use of long-lines. As part of the efforts to establish an efficient technique for producing seedlings of S. horneri, in this investigation a series of culture experiments were carried out in indoor raceway and rectangular tanks under reduced solar irradiance at ambient temperature in 2007–2008. The investigation demonstrated that: (1) sexual reproduction of S. horneri could be accelerated in elevated temperature and light climates, at least 3 months earlier than in the wild; (2) eggs of S. horneri had the potential to be fertilized up to 48 h, much longer than that of known related species; (3) suspension and fixed culture methods were both effective in growing the seedlings to the long-line cultivation stage; and (4) the life cycle of S. horneri in culture could be shortened to 4.5 months, thus establishing this alga as an appropriate model for investigating sexual reproduction in dieocious species of this genus.
KeywordsSargassum horneri Fertilization Brown alga Seaweed cultivation Seedling production
The authors wish to thank C.H. Song for her technical assistance in maintaining the algal culture in the lab. This work is financially supported by: (1) the 863 Hi-Tech Research and Development Program of China (2006AA10A412, 2006AA10A416); (2) a project from Natural Science Foundation of China (30671596); (3) a project from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KSCX2-YW-N-47–07); and (4) a project from the Ministry of Science and technology of China (2006GB24910469).
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