Marine Biology

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 79–86 | Cite as

The epibionts of Sargassum muticum in British waters

  • R. G. Withers
  • W. F. Farnham
  • S. Lewey
  • N. A. Jephson
  • J. M. Haythorn
  • P. W. G. Gray


This study was initiated by suggestions that the Japanese brown alga Sargassum muticum (Yendo) Fensholt, recently found to be invading shores along the eastern Solent (Southern England), might replace certain common native plants, to the possible detriment of local epibiont communities. Eighty animal, 52 plant and 9 fungal species have been identified from S. muticum plants collected at four different localities. Animal fouling was most conspicuous on permanently submerged plants growing along the edge of floating harbour installations. Algal epibionts were most numerous and varied on S. muticum from tidal lagoons on a well-scoured but sheltered rocky shore. Most of the epibionts colonised the perennial portions of the plants, close to the holdfast. A few settled along the fronds in summer, but none were found in the region of the secondary and tertiary apical meristems. Seasonal variations in the abundance and diversity of algal epibionts were observed; most were restricted to summer, but winter and all-year-round species were also noted. Fungal studies on S. muticum have isolated only saprophytic species, which are also common locally on other Phaeophyceae. Overall, these data suggest that S. muticum can support a considerable epibiota and, therefore, its introduction seems unlikely to result in a significant change in local epiphyte communities.


Seasonal Variation Fungal Species Native Plant Apical Meristem Brown Alga 
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.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. G. Withers
    • 1
    • 2
  • W. F. Farnham
    • 1
  • S. Lewey
    • 1
  • N. A. Jephson
    • 1
  • J. M. Haythorn
    • 1
  • P. W. G. Gray
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesPortsmouth PolytechnicPortsmouthEngland
  2. 2.Marine LaboratoryPortsmouth PolytechnicHayling IslandEngland

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