Chemical Ecology of Seaweeds

  • Charles D. Amsler
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 219)


This chapter summarizes the breadth of seaweed chemical ecology. Sensory chemical ecology includes chemical communication within and between species, whether intentional or not, as well as seaweed spores sensing their chemical and physicochemical environment during and preceding settlement. Defensive chemical ecology includes chemical defenses mounted against predators, pathogens, biofoulers (epibionts), and competitors. Such defenses can be produced constitutively or in some cases their production can be increased when the seaweed is attacked. Most commonly the defensive compounds are organic molecules but reactive oxygen species are also important in defenses against pathogens. In some seaweeds, sensory and defensive aspects overlap as waterborne chemical cues released by seaweeds when under attack by herbivores can induce defenses in neighboring algae and attract predators of the herbivores. Defenses against biofoulers can also involve interfering with chemical communications between biofilm bacteria.


Brown Alga Chemical Defense Brown Seaweed Male Gamete Chemical Communication 
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.



I am grateful to M. Amsler, K. Iken, J. McClintock, G. Pohnert, and an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this chapter. Manuscript preparation was supported in part by National Science Foundation award ANT-0838773 from the Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems program.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA

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