Marine Biology

, Volume 161, Issue 12, pp 2885–2895 | Cite as

Growth and production of new recruits and adult individuals of Ascophyllum nodosum in a non-harvested population at its southern limit (Galicia, NW Spain)

  • Inés G. Viana
  • Antonio Bode
  • Consolación Fernández
Original Paper


Populations near the geographic distribution limits of the species are considered to live under suboptimal conditions, and hence, slight environmental changes can be critical for their survival. The potential sensitivity to disturbances of the long-living macroalga Ascophyllum nodosum was analyzed by the determination of growth, recruitment, mortality, and production of biomass of a population near its southern distribution limit. Recruitment, survival and growth rates of <2 years old individuals were determined in a new population growing in experimentally denudated squares. Demographic data for >2 years old individuals were obtained from individuals in the original population after estimating their age from the number of gas bladders in the thallus. Growth and survival were described as continuous nonlinear functions of age applied to the population and were further used to make demography-based production estimates. Recruitment of A. nodosum in denudated substrates seemed to require a previous cover of other macroalgae (as Fucus vesiculosus) as the only cohort detected during the 26-month period of the study was observed after F. vesiculosus individuals started to increase. The low production estimates (2,033 g m−2 for a 10 year period) and poor recruitment may indicate a slow recuperation of this population to denudation. However, the large variability observed in the estimated growth curves of different populations along this southern distribution area suggests a large influence of local conditions that may help to overcome environmental changes at regional scales.


Macroalgae Adult Individual Original Population Brown Seaweed Southern Limit 
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 thank A.F. Lamas and J. Varela for assistance in the samplings. We also acknowledge the comments and suggestions of three anonymous reviewers that greatly contributed to improve the manuscript. This research was funded by project ANILE (CTM2009-08396 and CTM2010-09904-E) of the Plan Nacional de I+D+I (Spain). I.G.V. was supported by a FPI fellowship from Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (Spain).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Inés G. Viana
    • 1
  • Antonio Bode
    • 1
  • Consolación Fernández
    • 2
  1. 1.Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de A CoruñaA CoruñaSpain
  2. 2.Unidad de Ecología, Departamento de Biología de Organismos y SistemasUniversidad de OviedoOviedoSpain

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