In situ common garden assays demonstrate increased defense against natural fouling in non-native populations of the red seaweed Gracilaria vermiculophylla

Abstract

The susceptibility of native and non-native populations of the red alga Gracilaria vermiculophylla to fouling was compared in common garden experiments. Native and non-native algae were enclosed into dialysis membrane tubes, and the tubes were exposed to natural fouling. Fouling on the outside of the tubes was mediated by chemical compounds excreted by G. vermiculophylla that diffused through the membranes. Fouling pressure was significantly higher in the Kiel Fjord (non-native range) than in Akkeshi Bay (native range), but, at both sites, tubes containing non-native G. vermiculophylla were less fouled than those with native conspecifics. This is the first in situ evidence that susceptibility to fouling differs between native and non-native populations of an aquatic organism. The technique of enclosing organisms into dialysis tubes represents a simple, efficient and accurate way to test chemical antifouling defenses and could possibly be applied to other organisms.

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Acknowledgements

S. Wang was supported by a scholarship from the China Scholarship Council (CSC) at GEOMAR—Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung in Kiel. We would like to thank Prof. Dr. Martin Wahl for his valuable support and technical advices for experimental design. We are thankful to Renate Schütt for her great help in epibionts identification and to Nadja Stärck for her technical advices and help with field work preparation. We are very grateful to Dr. Inken Kruse, Dr. Takehisa Yamakita, Haruka Yamaguchi and Carola Schuller for collecting and sending algal samples. We acknowledge: NSF BIO-OCE-1357386.

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Correspondence to Shasha Wang.

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This study was funded by the China Scholarship Council (CSC) (Number 201206330050).

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All experimental data underlying this publication are available from the PANGAEA repository (doi: https://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.865280).

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Wang, S., Weinberger, F., Xiao, L. et al. In situ common garden assays demonstrate increased defense against natural fouling in non-native populations of the red seaweed Gracilaria vermiculophylla . Mar Biol 164, 193 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-017-3226-6

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