Stipe lengths of sporophytes of Ecklonia cava Kjellman have been reported to be longer along the southeast than southwest coast of the Izu Peninsula, central Japan. Two bays in this region that have natural populations of E. cava, but with different stipe lengths, were chosen for transplant experiments to examine if stipe length was an environmentally controlled trait. Transplant experiments were carried out in order to determine whether large-type sporophytes of E. cava with long stipes growing in Nabeta Bay (southeast Izu Peninsula, Japan) would turn into small-type sporophytes with short stipes when transplanted to Nakagi Bay (southwest Izu Peninsula). Ten juvenile sporophytes of E. cava (stipe length < 5 cm) were collected from Nabeta Bay (large-type habitat) and transplanted to Nakagi Bay (short-type habitat) in December 1995. As a transplant control, ten juvenile sporophytes of E. cava growing in Nakagi Bay were also transplanted to the same artificial reefs. Growth and survival rates of the sporophytes were monitored monthly for 3 y until December 1998. The transplanted sporophytes showed an increase in their stipe length and diameter from winter to spring, whereas almost no increase was observed from summer to autumn. However, the elongation was greater in Nabeta sporophytes than in Nakagi sporophytes. The primary blade length increased mainly from winter to early spring and decreased largely in autumn. Average primary blade lengths were similar in both Nabeta and Nakagi sporophytes from the end of the first year of transplanting. Although ca. 70% of both Nabeta and Nakagi sporophytes survived during the first 2 y after transplantation, no Nakagi sporophytes and only two Nabeta sporophytes survived to the end of the 3 y study period. Despite transplantation to Nakagi Bay, where short sitpes are naturally present, the sporophytes from Nabeta Bay persisted in having longer stipes, which suggests that stipe length is genetically, rather than environmentally, controlled.
Field of Research
060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology)
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