Marine Biology

, Volume 162, Issue 6, pp 1165–1174 | Cite as

Recruitment patterns in the Mediterranean deep-water alga Cystoseira zosteroides

  • P. Capdevila
  • C. Linares
  • E. Aspillaga
  • L. Navarro
  • D. K. Kersting
  • B. Hereu
Original Paper


Although recruitment is considered an essential process regulating populations of many marine species, there is still a lack of knowledge about the ultimate factors that influence it. This is especially true for seaweeds, where population dynamics studies are also lacking. The main objective of this study was to investigate the main mechanisms driving the recruitment patterns of an emblematic deep-water alga in the NW Mediterranean, Cystoseira zosteroides, and its influence on their population dynamics. Five C. zosteroides populations were monitored annually at different sites along the coast of Spain by using permanent transects over 3–4 years. Some of these populations suffered mass mortality events from natural or anthropogenic disturbances, allowing us to study the influence of such events. Our findings agreed with the expected results for a long-lived species. Under low frequency of disturbances, C. zosteroides populations displayed few fluctuations over time given the longevity of the adults, and they were poorly influenced by the dynamics of early life stages because of negative density-dependent control of conspecifics. Moreover, disturbances had a great influence on population dynamics because the removal of adults decreased the effects of density-dependent processes and enhanced the recruitment. Nonetheless, a high mortality was found for early life stages (~50 % year−1), contrasting with the high survival of adults (~90 % year−1). This study confirmed the slow population dynamics of these deep assemblages, demonstrated the influence of density in the C. zosteroides population dynamics and highlighted their vulnerability to the increase in natural and human-induced disturbances.


Early Life Stage Recruitment Success Adult Density Adult Survival Rate Recruitment Dynamic 
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 all of the colleagues who helped us with the field work during the study years. Special recognition is given to N. Teixidó, E. Cebrian, J. Garrabou and E. Ballesteros. We thank the Secretaría General de Pesca and the Columbretes Islands Marine Reserve staff, Parc Natural del Montgrí, Illes Medes i Baix Ter and Parc Natural de Cap de Creus for their logistic support. Support for this work was provided by a FI-DRG grant from the Generalitat de Catalunya to Pol Capdevila and by a Ramon y Cajal research contract (RyC-2011-08134) to Cristina Linares. This study was partially funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Innovation Biorock project (CTM2009-08045) and Smart Project (CGL2012-32194). The authors are part of the Marine Conservation Research Group (2009 SGR 1174, from Generalitat de Catalunya.

Supplementary material

227_2015_2658_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (264 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 264 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Capdevila
    • 1
  • C. Linares
    • 1
  • E. Aspillaga
    • 1
  • L. Navarro
    • 1
  • D. K. Kersting
    • 1
  • B. Hereu
    • 1
  1. 1.Departament d’Ecologia, Facultat de BiologiaUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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