Abiotic regulation of growth and fertility in the sporophyte of Dictyota dichotoma (Hudson) J.V. Lamouroux (Dictyotales, Phaeophyceae)
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While Dictyota dichotoma has been cultured for decades, relatively little is known on the abiotic regulation of its growth, life cycle and release periodicity. Here, we evaluated the different abiotic factors that potentially control growth, survival, fertility and spore release in order to establish efficient culture methods of the sporophyte that allow life cycle control. Vegetative growth is maximal at room temperature (18–20 °C), but cultures can be stored for months at low temperatures (≈8 °C). Red light, increased temperature and nutrient manipulation proved to be excellent triggers inducing sporogenesis. Sporophytes lack any lunar periodicity in spore release in contrast to gametophytes, but surprisingly, release of meiospores follows a similar diurnal cycle. This enables the production of synchronously developing spores during the entire lunar cycle. Interest in this species relates to its potential for commercial applications for phytoremediation, metabolites with therapeutic and anti-biofouling potential, and its usage as a model for developmental research complementary to Fucus.