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1 23
Marine Biodiversity
ISSN 1867-1616
Mar Biodiv
DOI 10.1007/s12526-014-0254-z
Rhodolith beds in the South-East Pacific
Erasmo C.Macaya, Rafael Riosmena-
Rodríguez, Roland R.Melzer, Roland
Meyer, Günter Försterra & Vreni
Häussermann
1 23
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OCEANARIUM
Rhodolith beds in the South-East Pacific
Erasmo C. Macaya &Rafael Riosmena-Rodríguez &
Roland R. Melzer &Roland Meyer &Günter Försterra &
Vreni Häussermann
Received: 4 April 2014 /Revised: 16 June 2014 / Accepted: 19 June 2014
#Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014
Rhodolith or maërl are the most common terms used for free
living coralline red algae which live and produce sediments
(Nelson 2009). They are common in the North Atlantic,
Mediterranean, tropical West Atlantic, Gulf of California,
Southern Japan, Western Australia and New Zealand (Foster
2001). Rhodolith beds reach the deepest section of the eupho-
tic zone, their maximum is at approximately 286 m (Foster
2001). These beds provide habitat, refuge, settlement sites and
nursery ground for a variety of marine life, but also
information about past and present climate changes and
represent an important economic resource used as fertil-
izer in agriculture (Foster 2001). Climate change, ocean
acidification and fisheries have negative impacts on
rhodolith beds, resulting in calls for conservation
(Hall-Spencer et al. 2010).
In the Eastern Pacific, rhodolith beds are known from the
Gulf of California to Alaska and the Galapagos Islands, Costa
Rica, and Panama. The knowledge on coralline algae along
the Chilean coast is still scarce focusing on crustose and non
free-living forms (e.g. Vidal et al. 2003). Here we give the first
record of rhodolith beds in the South-East Pacific, based on
scientific expeditions to Guarello Island (Madre de Dios Ar-
chipelago, c. 50°S 75°W), Melinka and Amita Island
(Guaitecas, c. 43°S 73°W,), and Robinson Crusoe Island (Juan
Fernandez Archipelago, c. 33°S 78°W).
At three sites, Robinson Crusoe, Guarello and Amita, we
found areas of average downward slope on rocky ground
mixed with sediment spots. At depths from about 1025 m
many of these spots were covered with rhodolith beds show-
ing a lumpy growth form in Robinson Crusoe (Fig. 1a)and
fruticose habit in Guarello and Amita (Fig. 1b, c). Plants were
approximately 5 cm in diameter and had one or two branches
per cm
2
in lumpy material and four to six branches per cm
2
in
fruticose material. In Melinka (Fig. 1d), rhodoliths with a
lumpy growth form were found at intertidal pools. These
records extend the distribution of rhodoliths and raises inter-
esting questions about their distribution, taxonomy, evolution
and ecology. Thus, rhodolith beds in the South-East Pacific
need to be analyzed in detail in the future and their role in
coastal processes evaluated.
This article is no. 106 from the Huinay Scientific Field Station
E. C. Macaya (*)
Universidad de Concepción, Concepción, Chile
e-mail: emacaya@oceanografia.udec.cl
R. Riosmena-Rodríguez
Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, La Paz, Mexico
R. R. Melzer:R. Meyer
Zoologische Staatssammlung München, Munich, Germany
G. Försterra :V. Häussermann
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile
Mar Biodiv
DOI 10.1007/s12526-014-0254-z
Author's personal copy
Acknowledgments Funding provided by FONDECYT N° 11110437
to ECM and N° 1131039 to VH.
References
Foster MS (2001) Rhodoliths: between rocks and softplaces. J Phycol 37:
659667
Hall-Spencer J, Kelly J, Maggs C (2010) Background document for maërl
beds. OSPAR Commission, London, p 36
Nelson WA (2009) Calcified macroalgaecritical to coastal eco-
systems and vulnerable to change: a review. Mar Freshw Res
60:787801
Vidal R, Meneses I, Smith M (2003) Molecular genetic iden-
tification of crustose representatives of the order
Corallinales (Rhodophyta) in Chile. Mol Phylogenet Evol
28:404419
Fig. 1 Rhodoliths from South-East Pacific. aRobinson Crusoe, (scale bar 1 cm). bGuarello, cAmita, dMelinka
Mar Biodiv
Author's personal copy
... The first characterization of the inter-and subtidal coastal habitats of Robinson Crusoe Island show the following patterns: a) the dominant substrate varies among the three marine parks, b) a high level of endemism in the different taxonomic groups, c) both 928 species richness and abundance show typical patterns of zonation, increasing from the high intertidal towards the subtidal, though the study sites lack characteristic mussel beds in the mid intertidal and large brown macroalgal belts in the low intertidal, d) algal species richness and abundance were high, both in the intertidal and subtidal zones; however in intertidal habitats the dominant functional groups were corticated (e.g., C. intermedius, C. pusilla, Gelidium, B. intricata), crustose and filamentous algae (e.g., C. firma, C. perpusilla, Polysiphonia sp., Pterosiphonia sp.), while in the subtidal zone corticated foliose algae (e.g., D. skottsbergii, P. fernandeziana) dominated the three study sites and the presence of rhodoliths beds in El Palillo (Macaya et al., 2014), e) herbivorous invertebrates, particularly gastropods, dominated the intertidal, while the subtidal was dominated by detritivores, with H. platei as the most abundant, f) the highest fish abundance was recorded in subtidal habitats at El Palillo, followed by El Arenal and finally Tierras Blancas, while fish were very scarce in the intertidal zones, g) invertivore fishes, consumers of benthic invertebrates, dominated Robinson Crusoe's coastal habitats, which suggests a negative relationship between fish abundance and benthic invertebrate abundance, and h) the composition of sessile communities, mobile invertebrates and fish were clearly distinctive in the three proposed marine parks in Robinson Crusoe. The patterns observed in this first study, integrating inter-and subtidal communities, allow us to propose hypotheses relative to the main factors structuring these coastal communities. ...
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... Foster (2001) argued that rhodolith beds may be one of earth's "big four" seaweeddominated communities together with kelp forests, seagrass meadows, and nongeniculate coralline algae-dominated tropical reefs. Internationally recognized as unique ecosystems, new rhodolith beds continue to be discovered (Foster 2001;Konar et al. 2006;Teichert et al. 2012;Macaya et al. 2015). The three-dimensional structure of rhodolith beds creates microhabitats for diverse invertebrates and algae, including rare and unusual species, as well as serving as nursery grounds for some commercial species of fish (?) (e.g., Hernández-Kantún et al. 2010;Kamenos et al. 2004a, b;Neill et al. 2015;Peña and Bárbara 2008b;Steller et al. 2003;Teichert 2014). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
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Full-text available
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Full-text available
This Background Document on maërl beds has been developed by OSPAR following the inclusion of this habitat on the OSPAR List of threatened and/or declining species and habitats (OSPAR agreement 2008-6). The document provides a compilation of the reviews and assessments that have been prepared concerning this habitat since the agreement to include it in the OSPAR List in 2004. The original evaluation used to justify the inclusion of maërl beds in the OSPAR List is followed by an assessment of the most recent information on its status (distribution, extent, condition) and key threats prepared during 2009-2010. Chapter 7 provides recommendations for the actions and measures that could be taken to improve the conservation status of the habitat. In agreeing to the publication of this document, Contracting Parties have indicated the need to further review these proposals. Publication of this background document does not, therefore, imply any formal endorsement of these proposals by the OSPAR Commission. On the basis of the further review of these proposals, OSPAR will continue its work to ensure the protection of maërl beds, where necessary in cooperation with other competent organisations. This background document may be updated to reflect further developments or further information on the status of the habitat which becomes available.
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Knowledge on species of the order Corallinales along the coast of Chile is still scarce despite a number of studies and records of other divisions of seaweeds made since the early 20th century. This lack of information is more dramatic among crustose representatives of the order, thus depriving biogeographic studies of a thorough analysis and resulting in inadequately representative accounts of biodiversity. The currently changing taxonomy of the group makes it difficult to identify and differentiate among taxa based on morphological and developmental characters. Therefore, the use of molecular tools has been adopted in this study in order to facilitate identification and comparison of crustose corallines collected at the rocky intertidal between 27 degrees and 48 degrees S along the Pacific temperate coast of South America. A sequence 600bp (in length) from the SSU-rDNA gene was used to identify five taxa to the genus level: Lithophyllum, Spongites, Mesophyllum, Synarthrophyton, and Leptophytum. In all cases, the genus distinction based on morphological characters coincide with designations based on variation in the ribosomal DNA gene sequence. Spongites is the most frequently occurring genus and is found in all localities sampled while the others appear occasionally. Taxa recognition at species level must be examined with caution considering that morphological variability is not well understood in Chile because the SSU-rDNA region sequence does not always stand alone as an unambiguous means of identifying all coralline species. In such cases, more rapidly evolving markers are needed. For example, sequences from the ITS (rDNA) region often provide greater resolution among closely related species and genera. However, the methodology presented here remains a useful tool for species-level identification.
Chile e-mail: emacaya@oceanografia.udec.cl R. Riosmena-Rodríguez Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur Rhodoliths: between rocks and soft places
  • E C Macaya Paz
  • R R Mexico
  • Melzer
E. C. Macaya (*) Universidad de Concepción, Concepción, Chile e-mail: emacaya@oceanografia.udec.cl R. Riosmena-Rodríguez Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur, La Paz, Mexico R. R. Melzer : R. Meyer Zoologische Staatssammlung München, Munich, Germany G. Försterra : V. Häussermann Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile Mar Biodiv DOI 10.1007/s12526-014-0254-z References Foster MS (2001) Rhodoliths: between rocks and soft places. J Phycol 37: 659–667
1 Rhodoliths from South-East Pacific. a Robinson Crusoe, (scale bar 1 cm). b Guarello
  • Fig
Fig. 1 Rhodoliths from South-East Pacific. a Robinson Crusoe, (scale bar 1 cm). b Guarello, c Amita, d Melinka