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Seasonality of epiphytic development of the hydroid Obelia geniculata on cultivated Saccharina japonica (Laminariaceae, Phaeophyta) in Korea

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The occurrence of encrusting colonies of the hydroid Obelia geniculata on farmed Saccharina japonica was examined between December 2007 and July 2008 at a Saccharina farm at Wando on the southwestern coast of Korea. The growth stages of S. japonica can be divided into two phases: an active growth phase from February to the end of May and a decay phase from June to July. There was a significant increase in the level of incrustation by colonies on fronds (measured as the percentage of fronds with encrusting colonies) between February and July (p < 0.05). The encrusting colonies occurred first on the upper part of the frond in February and progressed to the basal part in July. The abundance of encrusting colonies in relation to the growth phase on farms over time was limited by the harvest of the seaweed crop at the end of the cultivation period in July. The stipes and holdfasts of fronds showed no signs of infestation at any time during the cultivation period. The extent of the infestation appeared to be related to a combination of factors. These could be reduced physiological activity and subsequent tissue aging that occurred simultaneously in the sporophytic life phase of Saccharina frond, and a rapid increase in reproduction and growth of O. geniculata coinciding with rising seawater temperature.

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This work was supported by Priority Research Centers Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2009-0093828) and National Fisheries Research & Development Institute (RP-2011-AQ-088). We thank Dr. Philip Heath (NIWA, New Zealand) for reviewing the English. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments.

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Correspondence to Eun Kyoung Hwang.

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Park, C.S., Hwang, E.K. Seasonality of epiphytic development of the hydroid Obelia geniculata on cultivated Saccharina japonica (Laminariaceae, Phaeophyta) in Korea. J Appl Phycol 24, 433–439 (2012).

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