Dispersion, dispersal, and persistence of the annual intertidal alga, Postelsia palmaeformis Ruprecht

TitleDispersion, dispersal, and persistence of the annual intertidal alga, Postelsia palmaeformis Ruprecht
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1973
Refereed DesignationRefereed
AuthorsDayton, P. K.
JournalEcology
Volume54
Issue2
Pagination433-438
Date Published03/1973
Abstract

Postelsia palmaeformis is an annual brown alga that occurs on the Washington coast at upper intertidal sites subjected to extreme wave exposure. The alga occurs in patches within beds of Mytilus californianus, the competitive dominant in this region. Postelsia sporophytes are shown to colonize experimentally cleared spaces in beds of Mytilus with no con-current colonization of adjacent uncleared controls. However, unlike many annual algae which have high spore dispersal abilities, Postelsia seems to have an effective distance of sporophyte colonization of only about 3 m from the edge of an existing Postelsia patch. This limited spore dispersal is the mechanism postulated to explain the observed within-patch aggregated distribution also. Postelsia patches are maintained through time by settlement of Postelsia on other algal and animal species. By increasing the probability of both being ripped from the substratum, and by overgrowing and smothering barnacles, Postelsia sporophytes clear primary substratum for the eventual use of sporophytes of their own species.