The brown alga Lobophora represents a major benthic component in tropical coral reefs, capable of dominating large reef areas following coral motality and herbivory declines. The alga, however, has been the object of contradictory observations in terms of susceptibility to herbivory. Unaware of the species-richness of this genus, virtually all the previous studies referred to the single Caribbean species referred to as Lobophora variegata, which was presumably polymorphic, with different chemical compositions and occupying diverse ecological niches. Variation in susceptibility of this single algal species to herbivory have been consequently interpreted as intraspecific variation in terms of morphology and chemical composition as well as differences in herbivore guild compositions and diet across different locations (e.g. habitat, reef, region). Recent taxonomical studies of the genus Lobophora disclosed a high species diversity, which could conceivably explain previous contradictory results. However, the present study, which compared the susceptibility to herbivory of eight different species of Lobophora, which differed in growth form as well as their fine-scale alpha-niche on coral reefs in the southern lagoon in New Caledonia, showed that they were all consumed without outstanding differences. These results suggest that Lobophora strategies in forms of escapes – associational or spatial – have been privileged by this brown tropical alga over defenses – chemical or morphological – against herbivores.
Why fight if you can run? Strategies of the brown algal genus Lobophora (Dictyotales, Phaeophyceae) against herbivores. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316442155_Why_fight_if_you_can_run_Strategies_of_the_brown_algal_genus_Lobophora_Dictyotales_Phaeophyceae_against_herbivores [accessed Apr 24, 2017].
Recommended citation: Vieira, C., Stenger, PL., Moleana, T., De Clerck, O., & Payri, C. (2015) - working paper - from Vieira Thesis 2015.