Temperature mediates the outcome of species interactions in early life-history stages of two sympatric kelp species

Katharina Zacher*, Miriam Bernard, Alberto Daniel Moreno, Inka Bartsch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ocean warming can mediate species interactions and provoke changes in community structure worldwide. Species interactions vary along environmental gradients and life-history stages and increasing temperatures may change competitive dominance between species. Kelps, being marine foundation species, have a complex heteromorphic life cycle, with the early developmental stages being a bottleneck for successful establishment of the adult population. Here, we investigated how temperature influences interactions in early life-history stages of two kelp species with different thermal affinities (Alaria esculenta and Laminaria digitata from Spitsbergen) by cultivating them in mono- and co-culture and different temperatures. Irrespectively of cultivation treatment, spore germination, gametogenesis, and sporophyte development of both species were mostly positively stimulated by a temperature increase from mean ambient summer temperatures (4–5 °C) to a global warming scenario for the Arctic future (9–10 °C) but not at 15 °C which is the southern temperature limit of A. esculenta. At 15 °C gametogenesis and sporophyte formation of A. esculenta were greatly inhibited in monoculture but not so in L. digitata. On the other hand at 5 °C and 10 °C, gametogenesis and sporophyte growth were generally faster in A. esculenta than in L. digitata, leading to a competitive advantage of A. esculenta over L. digitata in the co-cultivation treatments. The interactive effects of co-cultivation and temperature were evident, where development of A. esculenta was accelerated in the presence of L. digitata at 9 °C but not at 4 °C. Although the mechanisms triggering interspecific interactions were not determined in this study, future global warming was found to give competitive advantage of A. esculenta over L. digitata, which could affect community structure and dominance in coastal environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number161
JournalMarine Biology
Volume166
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

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