MEPS - Vol. 323 - Feature article

Chemical defence deters the amphipod Hyale nigra from grazing on the filamentous red alga Asparagopsis armata. Photo: Nicholas Paul

Paul NA, de Nys R, Steinberg PD

 

Seaweed-herbivore interactions at a small scale: direct tests of feeding deterrence by filamentous algae

 

Paul and co-authors identified potential chemical defences against small herbivores in some filamentous algae and then tested defence explicitly using a novel feeding assay. This assay used filamentous algae in which the presence of secondary metabolites had been manipulated. The feeding assays demonstrated that certain mesograzers (amphipods and juvenile abalone) were deterred from grazing by chemical defence in the filamentous alga Asparagopsis armata. Although functional form models predict that tolerance — not resistance — should be a key defensive strategy for marine algae with simple architecture, this study highlights that resistance traits are also important.

 

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