Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 1269–1277 | Cite as

Factors correlating with deterioration of giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera (Laminariales, Heterokontophyta) in an aquarium setting

  • Kwee Siong Tew
  • Pei-Jie Meng
  • Ming-Yih Leu


Survival of the giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera (Linnaeus) C. Agardh, in its natural habitat is governed by abiotic and biotic factors such as temperature, light, nutrients, current velocity, and predators. Factors affecting the survival of the alga in an aquarium setting, however, have not been investigated. The National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium (NMMBA), in subtropical Taiwan, is the only aquarium in the world that displays giant kelp that does not have naturally occurring specimens in nearby waters. Giant kelp displayed in aquaria often deteriorates within a 3-month period, yet the cause of this mortality is unknown. We investigated abiotic and biotic parameters affecting survival of giant kelp in aquaria over a 3-month period. The results indicated that temperature, salinity, pH, light, and nutrient concentrations did not affect giant kelp survival. However, the massive proliferation of epiphytic diatoms on kelp blades (from 7 × 102 cells cm−2 initially to 3 × 104 cells cm−2 after 1 month) was identified as being the most likely candidate affecting survival of giant kelp in an aquarium setting. Potential factors that may stimulate epiphyte proliferation include lack of epiphytic algae control via predation, high nutrient concentrations, a weak current, and a generally stable environment.


Diatom Epiphytic algae Giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera Taiwan 



We thank Dr. D. Glover and Ms. C. Doyle for their valuable comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by intramural funding from the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium to KS Tew (981003043).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kwee Siong Tew
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pei-Jie Meng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ming-Yih Leu
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.National Museum of Marine Biology & AquariumChechengTaiwan
  2. 2.Institute of Marine Biodiversity & EvolutionNational Dong Hwa UniversityChechengTaiwan

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