Macroalgae can defend themselves against generalist and specialist herbivores via morphological and/or chemical traits. Herein we examined the defensive responses (via relative palatability) of two brown (Lessonia nigrescens, Glossophora kunthii) and two red algae (Grateloupia doryphora, Chondracanthus chamissoi) from the northern-central coast of Chile against selected generalist meso-herbivores. Two laboratory experiments were conducted to investigate whether (i) algae can respond generally to grazing pressure of meso-herbivores (amphipods, isopods and juvenile sea urchins) and whether (ii) these algal responses were inducible. In order to examine palatability and thus effectiveness of responses, feeding assays were run after each experiment using fresh algal pieces and artificial agar-based food. Lessonia nigrescens responded to amphipods but not to sea urchins, and G. kunthii showed inducible response against one species of amphipods. Grateloupia doryphora did not respond against any of the tested grazers, whereas C. chamissoi responded against one species of amphipods and the tested isopod. Our results indicate variable responses of macroalgae against selected generalist meso-herbivores and evidence of an inducible defense in the brown alga G. kunthii.
Sociedad de Biología de Chile
Revista chilena de historia natural v.78 n.4 2005
Laboratory experiments examining inducible defense show variable responses of temperate brown and red macroalgae