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Chapter 4: Marine Plants

by: Heidi Stephens

Chapter 4: Marine Plants MSCI 302

Heidi Stephens
GPA 3.6

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Chapter 4: Marine Plants
Marine Biology
Dr. Abel
Class Notes
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Heidi Stephens on Sunday February 21, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to MSCI 302 at Coastal Carolina University taught by Dr. Abel in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 26 views. For similar materials see Marine Biology in Marine Science at Coastal Carolina University.

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Date Created: 02/21/16
Chapter 4: Marine Plants I. The Seaweeds— refers to macroscopic members of the following divisions A. multicellular plants that do not produce seeds or flowers B. abundant on hard substrates in intertidal zones and extend 30-40 m 1. in clear waters as deep as 200 m C. tolerate or even require surf action D. structural features 1. lack roots, flowers, seeds, and true leaves 2. blade— flattened, broad, leaflike structures a) complex branding and cellular arrangement b) house photosynthetic cells although photosynthesis occurs in other parts as well c) no veins of conductive tissues or distinctions between the upper and lower blade surfaces d) all areas equally exposed to sunlight 3. pneumatocysts— gas-filled floats a) buoy the blade toward the sun b) filled with N2, O2, or CO2 c) large diversity in size and structure 4. stipe— flexible stemlike structure a) some blades clean into the holdfast with no distinct stipe b) some are > 30 m 5. holdfast— attach plant to substrate a) seldom absorbs nutrients like true roots do b) adapted for resisting wave action c) epiphytes— attach to other plants E. Photosynthetic pigments 1. Red algae— Rhodophyta a) red plus blue phycobilin pigments and chlorophyll (1) some appear green (ex: nori) (2) most below low tide are soft pink to purple and red (3) usually < 1 m b) almost exclusively benthic c) some are unicellular d) 4000 species 2. brown algae— Phaeophyta a) golden xanthophyll pigments— fucoxanthin (1) combination of green and gold = olive green b) mostly benthic c) 1500 species d) only type with pneumatocysts— gas filled sacs e) largest algae— collectively known as kelp (1) dominate temperate latitudes in benthic zones 3. green algae— chlorophyll a) 7000 species, but only 13% are marine b) vary in structure— filaments, flat sheets, branching forms, etc. c) usually < 1 m II. Anthrophyta— marine flowering plants= leaves, stems, and roots A. abundant in localized areas along some seashores and backwater bays & sloughs B. submerged sea grass— about 60 species 1. used as an indicator of ecosystem health 2. horizontal stems with lots of leaves 3. staple food for near-shore animals and migratory birds 4. reproduce sexually, asexually, and vegetative a) pollen can be threadlike or sticky slime 5. few animals live here because of high sedimentation rates C. emergent flowering plants— marsh grasses and mangals 1. grow on soft bottoms in the intertidal zone 2. roots periodically exposed to tidal flooding 3. terrestrial plants that have evolved a tolerance to salt a) special structures secrete salt 4. marshes— intertidal grassland growing among estuaries a) grasses are usually too tough to eat raw b) production enters food chain as decaying detritus c) functions— (1) buffer coastlines from storm damage and erosion (2) filter for terrestrial runoff (3) nursery for young marine fishes and crustaceans d) higher elevations give rise to succulents, reeds and rushes, and bus and small trees of woodland 5. mangroves— dense thickets of tidal woodlands; over 80 species that just happen to live at the water’s edge a) shrubby, tree0like plants to 10 m tall trees b) dominate expanses of muddy shores— 2/3 of tropical coastlines c) shallow root systems or prop roots (roots growing down from branches) d) mangrove forests/mangals— (1) broadly rooted (2) leaves have salt glands to excrete salt (3) closest to edge = red (4) mid = black (5) highest = white e) functions— (1) important nurseries (2) prop roots provide substrate for benthic organisms (3) food for a variety of organisms (4) high primary production (5) lots of nutrients enter primary production through decaying leaves 6. coral reefs buffer waves from harming seagrasses and mangroves and in turn, seagrasses and mangroves filter water for coral reefs III.Reproduction and Growth A. sexual or vegetative (asexual), with few being solely vegetative B. most structural variety is because of complex patterns of sexual reproduction 1. alternation of sporophyte and gametophyte 2. red algae has unique phase— carposporphyte C. basically it is repeated mitosis and differentiation 1. additional division and growth to replace lost tissue is restricted to a few sites with meristematic cells IV. Kelp forests— perennial A. subtotal outcrops coated with massive growths of several brown algae species B. US West Coast— occur as an offshore ban parallel to coastline; growth is light limited 1. below is an understory of brown and red algae C. Atlantic Coast has lower diversity 1. shores scoured to bare rock by glaciation and recolonization is not complete 2. growth limit is controlled by grazing urchins 3. understory is similar to West Coast 4. encrusting algae covers rock below 10 m V. Geographic Distribution A. only a few factors control the presence or absence 1. water and air temperature 2. tidal amplitude 3. quality and quantity of light B. tropical western coast of Africa, west Central America, and Red Sea have impoverished red algae C. Southern Australia, South Africa, North Pacific, Mediterranean Sea have thriving seaweeds D. Red Algae 1. not rare in cold water, but more abundant in tropics and subtropics 2. coralline algae contribute to coral reef formation E. domination by plants in the sea is exceptional 1. phytoplankton prevail as primary producers 2. Kelp beds in North Pacific a) extensively layered forests VI. Seasonal Patterns of Marine Primary Production A. warm seas— tropical and subtropical 1. resembles continuous summer in temperate seas 2. abundant light and low nutrient levels a) pycnocline blocks vertical mixing b) compensation by year-round growing season and deep photic zone c) dinoflagellates more abundant than diatoms 3. upwelling areas are more productive than tropical open oceans a) similar to coral reefs B. Coastal Upwelling 1. replenishes nutrients in summer 2. high production as long as light is sufficient 3. duration and intensity can fluctuate with atmospheric circulation 4. Washington and Oregon— variability of spring and summer wind pattern causes sporadic upwelling 5. Peru Current— intense upwelling year round interrupted only by el nino a) uncharacteristically warm waters around equator C. Polar Seas 1. light is the limiting factor a) sufficient light only lasts for a few months in summer b) short summer diatom bloom declines rapidly 2. winter resembles that of a temperate winter, but much longer 3. melting ice containing phytoplankton initiate the bloom 4. Antarctic— upwelling VII.Global Marine Primary Production A. mid and high latitude regions, shallow coastal areas, and upwelling zones support large populations of primary producers 1. most production during summer B. open ocean— especially tropics and subtropics 1. strong thermocline and pycnocline and therefore low production 2. polar seas— low light means low production 3. 42.5 billion tonnes of carbon annually and all but 1.92 billion (95.5%) is from phytoplankton


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