MEPS 544:169-182 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11585

Low barnacle fouling on leaves of the mangrove plant Sonneratia apetala and possible anti-barnacle defense strategies

Dan-qing Feng1, Wei Wang1, Xiang Wang1, Yan Qiu2, Cai-huan Ke1,* 

1State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science, College of Ocean & Earth Sciences, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, PR China
2Medical College, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, PR China
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: A field survey of barnacle fouling on leaves of 5 co-occurring mangrove trees (Kandelia candel, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, Rhizophora stylosa, Sonneratia apetala, and Avicennia marina) was conducted in Tongan Bay, southeastern China. The leaves of S. apetala were less frequently and less abundantly fouled by barnacles relative to the other mangrove species, suggesting that S. apetala may possess anti-barnacle mechanisms. The surface wettability and flexibility of leaves of the 5 investigated species were measured. Except for the lower surface of A. marina leaves, the leaf surfaces of all investigated species exhibited low wettability, with water contact angles of 82° to 94°. The leaf flexibility of S. apetala was similar to that of A. marina, and both were much greater than those of the other 3 species. Leaves of all 5 mangrove species were also subjected to chemical extraction. The extracts of K. candel, S. apetala, A. marina, and B. gymnorrhiza showed anti-settlement activities against the barnacle Balanus albicostatus, with median effective concentration (EC50) values respectively of 0.85, 10.13, 37.03, and 50.67 µg cm-2. An antifouling compound, identified as oleanolic acid, was isolated from the 2 most active extracts (from K. candel and S. apetala) via bioassay-guided fractionation. Based on our results, we propose a potential multiple defense strategy of S. apetala against barnacle fouling, including low surface wettability, use of an anti-barnacle settlement metabolite of oleanolic acid, and post-settlement detachment of barnacles from its flexible leaves.


KEY WORDS: Mangrove · Barnacle fouling · Antifouling defense · Sonneratia apetala · Surface wettability · Oleanolic acid


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Cite this article as: Feng DQ, Wang W, Wang X, Qiu Y, Ke CH (2016) Low barnacle fouling on leaves of the mangrove plant Sonneratia apetala and possible anti-barnacle defense strategies. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 544:169-182. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11585

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