Marine Biology

, Volume 145, Issue 5, pp 849–862 | Cite as

The effect of water movement, temperature and salinity on abundance and reproductive patterns of Macrocystis spp. (Phaeophyta) at different latitudes in Chile

  • A. H. BuschmannEmail author
  • J. A. Vásquez
  • P. Osorio
  • E. Reyes
  • L. Filún
  • M. C. Hernández-González
  • A. Vega
Research Article


This study describes the density variation and phenology of Macrocystis integrifolia and M. pyrifera populations from northern and southern Chile, respectively. Samples of both species were taken in wave-exposed and wave-protected areas. In addition, spore production, germination and early growth rate of sporophytes of each population was studied at monthly intervals under three temperature and salinity regimes. Results indicate that M. integrifolia from northern Chile presents perennial plants with a mean density of three individuals per 0.25 m2 throughout the year and that it reproduces mainly during spring and winter. Although, M. pyrifera in exposed areas of southern Chile also have a perennial-type life strategy, they are able to reproduce all year round. In contrast, M. pyrifera populations in protected areas of southern Chile show a clear annual cycle, with high recruitment during late winter and fertile sporophytes in summer and autumn, although the populations become completely decimated thereafter. The effect of temperature and salinity on M. integrifolia shows that it is independent of water movement, but requires low temperatures and high salinities for the release of zoospores, germination and early sporophyte growth. This pattern differs from that of M. pyrifera in southern Chile, which has a broader tolerance range for salinity and temperature than does M. integrifolia. However, in southern Chile wave-protected populations showed higher spore release and germination at 15°C and 18°C, whereas sporophyte growth responded better at the lowest temperature tested (8°C). In general, these results are contrary to those expected, since a seasonal reproductive pattern was observed in M. integrifolia inhabiting a less seasonally variable environment. In exposed sites of southern Chile, plants showed greater tolerance and continuous reproduction throughout the year, despite the greater environmental variability. Finally, population dynamics of protected kelps in southern Chile shows an annual pattern, which is contrary to the expected perennial strategy shown by exposed populations.


Germination Percentage Spore Production Exposed Population Coralline Crustose Alga Exposed Site 
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.



This paper was funded by FONDECYT (Chile) 1000044 and 1010706. The authors acknowledge the help, in the field and in the laboratory, of R. Espinoza, V. Muñoz, G. Aroca and C. Moreno. We also wish to recognize the advice and constructive criticism of D. Varela and R. Stead on various aspects of this manuscript and the English review of S. Angus. Paper No. 5 of i-mar.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. H. Buschmann
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. A. Vásquez
    • 2
  • P. Osorio
    • 1
  • E. Reyes
    • 1
  • L. Filún
    • 1
  • M. C. Hernández-González
    • 1
  • A. Vega
    • 2
  1. 1.Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de Recursos y Ambientes Costeros (i~mar)Universidad de Los LagosCasilla 577Chile
  2. 2.Departamento Biología Marina, Facultad de Ciencias del MarUniversidad Católica del Norte and Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Aridas (CEAZA)Casilla 117Chile

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