Seaweed Biology

Volume 219 of the series Ecological Studies pp 203-234


Intimate Associations Between Epiphytes, Endophytes, and Parasites of Seaweeds

  • Philippe PotinAffiliated withCNRS, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6 Email author 

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By impacting the structure of the seaweed host population, epiphytes, endophytes, and parasites may affect the species community with which the host interacts. These intimate associations have been hardly studied beyond a descriptive stage. The scarcity of epidemiological studies in natural populations of seaweeds is a major gap for the understanding of naturally occurring mechanisms impacting ecosystem functioning. However, major progresses have been done in recent years in characterizing some mechanisms of cross-talk involved in host specificity, the role of bacterial biofilms in mediating some interactions, as well as host defenses that impact the diversity of these associations through allelopathic interactions. Close associations are also providing both an economic burden and new opportunities in human affairs, as seaweed aquaculture develops worldwide and in the context of environment-friendly strategies to cope with fouling organisms, respectively.