Warm Temperate Seaweed Communities: A Case Study of Deep Water Kelp Forests from the Alboran Sea (SW Mediterranean Sea) and the Strait of Gibraltar

  • Antonio Flores-Moya
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 219)


Kelp forests are one of the most characteristic seaweed communities in the sublittoral of temperate oceans. Moreover, there is great concern about kelp forests because they are considered to be some of the most productive and dynamic ecosystems on Earth. However, some of these communities are almost unknown or only scarcely and sporadically studied, because of their inaccessibility in deep waters. The aim of this contribution is to review the present knowledge of the singular deep water kelp forests of Laminaria ochroleuca and Saccorhiza polyschides, and the kelp beds of Phyllariopsis brevipes and Phyllariopsis purpurascens, from the Strait of Gibraltar and the Alboran Sea (SW Mediterranean Sea). This review focuses on the biogeography of these species, analysis of the abiotic factors affecting the seaweed communities, their growth and reproduction strategies, an assessment of conservation, and the prospect for further studies.


Kelp Forest Laminaria Hyperborea Seaweed Community External Carbonic Anhydrase Shallow Sublittoral 
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.



Agustín Barrajón was my excellent dive partner for more than 2,000 deep water dives in different locations in the Alboran Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar. The research work was enriched by collaboration (and sometimes diving) with the following colleagues worldwide: María Altamirano, Francisco Conde, José A. Fernández, Félix L. Figueroa, Eric C. Henry (who also revised the English style and usage of this chapter), Hiroshi Kawai, Ángel A. Luque, F. Xavier Niell, José Templado, and Christian Wiencke. José C. Moreno and the organization OCEANA were the authors of the submarine photographs. The writing of the chapter was financially supported by the Junta de Andalucía Research Group RNM-115.


  1. Abdullah MI, Fredriksen S (2004) Production, respiration and exudation of dissolved matter by the kelp Laminaria hyperborea along the west coast of Norway. J Mar Biol Ass UK 84:887–894CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adl SM, Simpson AGB, Farmer MA, Andersen RA, Anderson OR, Barta JR, Bowser SS, Brugerolle G, Fensome RA, Fredericq S, James TY, Karpov S, Kugrens P, Krug J, Lane CE, Lewis LA, Lodge J, Lynn DH, Mann DG, McCourt RM, Mendoza L, Moestrup Ø, Mozley-Standridge SE, Nerad TA, Shearer CA, Smirnov AV, Speigel FW, Taylor MFJR (2005) The new higher level classification of eukaryotes with emphasis on the taxonomy of protists. J Eukaryot Microbiol 52:399–451PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aguilar R, García S, Ubero J (2010) Distribution of deep-sea laminarians around three Spanish marine protected areas. Cited 14 March 2011
  4. Amigues S (1989) Théophraste. Recherches sur les plantes, vol II. Les Belles Lettres, ParisGoogle Scholar
  5. Atkinsons MJ, Smith SV (1984) C:N:P ratios of benthic marine plants. Limnol Oceanogr 28:568–574CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Birkett DA, Maggs CA, Dring MJ, Boaden PJS (1998) Infralittoral reef biotopes with kelp species. An overview of dynamic and sensitivity characteristics for conservation management of marine SACs. Scottish Association of Marine Science (UK Marine SACs Project), ScotlandGoogle Scholar
  7. Bolton JJ (2010) The biogeography of kelps (Laminariales, Phaeophyceae): a global analysis with new insights from recent advances in molecular phylogenetics. Helgoland Mar Res 64:263–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Christie H, Jørgesen NM, Norderhaug KM, Waage-Nielsen E (2003) Species distribution and habitat exploitation of fauna associated with kelp (Laminaria hyperborea) along the Norwegian coast. J Mar Biol Ass UK 83:687–699CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Christie H, Norderhaug KM, Fredriksen S (2009) Macrophytes as habitat for fauna. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 396:221–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cousteau J-Y, Dugan J (1963) The living sea. Hamish Hamilton, LondonGoogle Scholar
  11. Dayton PK (1985) Ecology of kelp communities. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 16:215–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dayton PK (1994) Essay: kelp forest. In: Lobban CS, Harrison PJ (eds) Seaweed ecology and physiology. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 75–77Google Scholar
  13. Drew EA (1972) Growth of a kelp forest at 60 metres in the Straits of Messina. Mem Biol Mar Oceanogr Univ Messina 2:135–157Google Scholar
  14. Drew EA (1974) An ecological study of Laminaria ochroleuca Pyl. Growing below 50 metres in the Straits of Messina. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 15:11–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Drew EA, Ireland JF, Muir C, Robertson WA, Robinson JD (1982) Photosynthesis, respiration, and other factors influencing the growth of Laminaria ochroleuca Pyl. below 50 metres in the Straits of Messina. PSZNI Mar Ecol 3:335–355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Druehl LD (1981) The distribution of Laminariales in the North Pacific with reference to environmental influences. Proc Int Congr Syst Evol Biol 2:248–256Google Scholar
  17. Dunton KH, Reimnitz E, Schonberg S (1982) An Arctic kelp community in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea. Arctic 35:465–484CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Feldmann J (1934) Les Laminaricées de la Méditerranée et leur répartition géographique. Bull Trav Stat d’Aquicult Pêche de Castiglione 1932:141–184Google Scholar
  19. Fernández C, Niell FX (1981) Discusión sobre los métodos usados en la estimación de la producción de macrófitos intermareales. Oecol Aquat 5:43–52Google Scholar
  20. Flores-Moya A (1997) Changes in reproductive effort, lamina-area index, and standing crop with depth in the deep water alga Phyllariopsis purpurascens (Laminariales, Phaeophyta). Phycologia 36:32–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Flores-Moya A (2004) Los bosques de laminariales. In: Luque AA, Templado J (eds) Praderas y bosques marinos de Andalucía. Consejería de Medio Ambiente de la Junta de Andalucía, Sevilla, pp 183–198Google Scholar
  22. Flores-Moya A, Fernández JA (1998) The role of external carbonic anhydrase in the photosynthetic use of inorganic carbon in the deep-water alga Phyllariopsis purpurascens (Laminariales, Phaeophyta). Planta 207:115–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Flores-Moya A, Henry EC (1998) Gametophyte and first stages of the sporophyte of Phyllariopsis purpurascens (Laminariales, Phaeophyta). Phycologia 37:398–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Flores-Moya A, Fernández JA, Niell FX (1993) Reproductive phenology, growth and primary production of Phyllariopsis purpurascens (Phyllariaceae, Phaeophyta) from the Straits of Gibraltar area. Eur J Phycol 28:223–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Flores-Moya A, Fernández JA, Niell FX (1995) Seasonal variations of photosynthetic pigments, total C, N, and P content, and photosynthesis in Phyllariopsis purpurascens (Phaeophyta) from the Strait of Gibraltar. J Phycol 31:867–874CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Flores-Moya A, Fernández JA, Niell FX (1996) Growth pattern, reproduction and self-thinning in seaweeds. J Phycol 32:767–769CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Flores-Moya A, Fernández JA, Niell FX (1997) Growth pattern, reproduction and self-thinning in seaweeds: a re-evaluation in reply to Scrosati. J Phycol 33:1080–1081CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Fredj G, Giermann G (1969) Observations en SP300 de peuplements de Laminariales dans le detroit de Messine. Rapp et PV du CIESM, Monaco 20:259–261Google Scholar
  29. Gagné JA, Mann KH (1981) Comparison of growth strategy in Laminaria populations living under differing seasonal patterns of nutrient availability. Proc Int Seaweed Symp 10:297–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Giaccone G (1969) Note sistematiche ed osservazioni fitosociologiche sulle Laminariales del Mediterraneo occidentale. G Bot Ital 193:457–474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Giaccone G (1972) Struttura, ecologia e corologia dei popolameti a laminarie dello Stretto di Messina e del mare di Alboran. Mem Biol Mar Oceanogr NS 2:37–59Google Scholar
  32. Graham MH, Kinlan BP, Druehl LD, Garske LE, Banks S (2007) Deep-water kelp refugia as potential hotspots of tropical marine diversity and productivity. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104:16576–16580PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Guiry MD, Guiry GM (2011) AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway. Cited 14 March 2011
  34. Henry EC (1987) The life history of Phyllariopsis brevipes (=Phyllaria reniformis) (Phyllariaceae, Laminariales, Phaeophyceae), a kelp with dioecious but sexually monomorphic gametophytes. Phycologia 26:17–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hort AF (1926) Theophrastus, enquiry into plants Vol. II. William Heinemann, Harvard University Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  36. Huvé H (1958) Contribution à l'étude des peuplements des Phyllariacées du détroit de Messine. Réun Commiss internation Explor sci Médit 14(NS):525–533Google Scholar
  37. Izquierdo JL, Pérez-Ruzafa IM, Gallardo T (2002) Effect of temperature and photon fluence rate on gametophytes and young sporophytes of Laminaria ochroleuca Pylaie. Helgol Mar Res 55:285–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Klinger T, DeWreede RE (1988) Stipe rings, age, and size in populations of Laminaria setchellii Silva (Laminariales, Phaeophyta) in British Columbia, Canada. Phycologia 27:234–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Lacombe H, Richez P (1982) The regime of the Strait of Gibraltar. In: Nihoul JCJ (de) Hydrodynamics of the semi-enclosed seas, 13th International Liège Colloquium on Ocean Hydrodynamics. Elsevier Oceanography Series 34, Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 13–73Google Scholar
  40. Lacombe H, Tchernia P (1972) Caràcteres hydrologiques et circulation des eaux en Méditerranée. In: Stanley DJ (ed) The Mediterranean Sea: a natural sedimentation laboratory. Dowden Hutchinson and Ross, Stroudsburg, pp 26–36Google Scholar
  41. Lüning K (1990) Seaweeds. Their environment, biogeography and ecophysiology. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  42. Lüning K, Dring M (1979) Continuous underwater light measurement near Helgoland (North Sea) and its significance for characteristics light limits in the sublittoral region. Helgoländer wiss Meeresunters 32:403–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mann KH (1973) Seaweeds: their productivity and strategy for growth. Science 182:975–981PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Mann KH (1982) Ecology of coastal waters. A system approach. Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  45. Norton TA (1970) Synopsis of biological data on Saccorhiza polyschides. FAO Fisheries Synopsis 83:1–35Google Scholar
  46. Pérez-Cirera JL, Cremades J, Bárbara I (1989) Precisiones sistemáticas y sinecológicas sobre algunas algas nuevas para Galicia o para las costas atlánticas de la Península Ibérica. Anales Jard Bot Madrid 46:35–45Google Scholar
  47. Pérez-Ruzafa I, Izquierdo JL, Araújo R, Sousa-Pinto I, Pereira L, Bárbara I (2003) Mapas de distribución de algas marinas de la Península Ibérica e Islas Baleares. XVII. Laminaria rodriguezii Bornet y adiciones a los mapas de L. hyperborea (Gunner.) Foslie, L. ochroleuca Bach. Pyl. y L. saccharina (L.) Lamour. (Laminariales, Fucophyceae). Bot Complut 27:155–164Google Scholar
  48. Redfield AC (1934) On the proportions of organic derivations in sea water and their relation to the composition of plankton. In: Daniel RJ (ed) James Johnstone memorial volume. University Press of Liverpool, Liverpool, England, pp 177–192Google Scholar
  49. Rodríguez J (1982) Oceanografía del mar Mediterráneo. Pirámide SA, MadridGoogle Scholar
  50. Roleda MY, Hanelt D, Kräbs G, Wiencke C (2004) Morphology, growth, photosynthesis and pigments in Laminaria ochroleuca (Laminariales, Phaeophyta) under ultraviolet radiation. Phycologia 43:603–613CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Sarhan T, García Lafuente J, Vargas M, Vargas JM, Plaza F (2000) Upwelling mechanisms in the northwestern Alboran Sea. J Mar Syst 23:317–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sasaki H, Flores-Moya A, Henry EC, Müller D, Kawai H (2001) Molecular phylogeny of Phyllariaceae, Halosiphonaceae and Tilopteridales (Phaeophyceae). Phycologia 40:123–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sauvageau C (1918) Sur les plantules d’une Laminaire à prothalle parasite (Phyllaria reniformis Rostanf.). C R Acad Sci Paris 166:787–789Google Scholar
  54. Sjøtun K, Fredriksen S, Rueness J, Lein TE (1995) Ecological studies of the kelp Laminaria hyperborea (Gunnerus) Foslie in Norway. In: Skjoldal HR, Hopkins C, Erikstad KE, Leinaas HP (eds) Ecology of fjords and coastal waters. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 525–536Google Scholar
  55. Steneck RS, Graham MH, Bourque BJ, Corbett D, Erlandson JM, Estes JA, Tegner MJ (2002) Kelp forest ecosystems: biodiversity, stability, resilience and future. Environ Conserv 29:436–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Templado J, Calvo M, Moreno D, Flores-Moya A, Conde F, Abad R, Rubio J, López-Fé CM, Ortiz M (2006) Flora y fauna de la reserva marina y reserva de Pesca de la isla de Alborán. Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación, Secretaría General de Pesca Marítima, MadridGoogle Scholar
  57. Wiencke C, Gómez I, Pakker H, Flores-Moya A, Altamirano M, Hanelt D, Bischof K, Figueroa FL (2000) Impact of UV radiation on viability, photosynthetic characteristics and DNA of brown algal zoospores: implications for depth zonation. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 197:217–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant Biology (Botany)University of MálagaMálagaSpain

Personalised recommendations