MEPS 354:97-105 (2008)  -  doi:10.3354/meps07255

Specificity of inducible seaweed anti-herbivory defences depends on identity of macroalgae and herbivores

Markus Molis1, Jochen Körner2, Young Wook Ko3, Jeong Ha Kim3,*

1Biologische Anstalt Helgoland, Section Seaweed Biology, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Kurpromenade 201, 27498 Helgoland, Germany
2Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment (ICBM), Aquatic Ecology, Carl von Ossietzky University, Ammerländer Heerstraße 114-118, 26129 Oldenburg, Germany
3Department of Biological Science, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon 440-746, Republic of Korea
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Meso-herbivores can strongly affect biomass accrual and macrophytobenthic community structure. To counter grazing effects, constitutive and induced anti-herbivory responses evolved in seaweeds. Feeding-assayed induction experiments were conducted in the laboratory to investigate whether 14 d grazing periods by either the periwinkle Littorina brevicula or the abalone Haliotis discus induced anti-herbivory defences in the green alga Ulva pertusa and the brown alga Laminaria japonica. Where appropriate, assays were repeated with artificial food containing lipophilic algal extracts, using dichloromethane (DCM) as a solvent, to test whether or not snails induced chemical defences. While exposure to periwinkles reduced palatability of fresh L. japonica pieces for naïve conspecific grazers, no such effect was displayed by abalone-exposed L. japonica pieces. Patterns of grazer specificity in the palatability of fresh algae were not confirmed when using artificial food containing algal DCM extracts. This suggests that L. japonica either induced morphological defences or periwinkle-deterrent substances originated from the non-lipophilic fraction of defensive chemicals. Grazer-specific induced responses were not apparent in U. pertusa assays. This study revealed that the induction of chemical anti-herbivory responses depends not only on the type of grazer but also on the type of alga on which the grazer feeds.


KEY WORDS: Plant–animal interaction · Consumption · Macroalgae · Chemical extracts · Republic of Korea


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Cite this article as: Molis M, Körner J, Ko YW, Kim JH (2008) Specificity of inducible seaweed anti-herbivory defences depends on identity of macroalgae and herbivores. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 354:97-105

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