KOL06: Kelp population biology (KOL06b)

This project investigates the impact of abiotic factors as modulator of reproductive traits, growth, biomass, competition, zonation and survival of kelps under current conditions and future climate change scenarios. In 2016/17 we focus on the transition periods in autumn and spring and performance over winter.

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Project type

  • field work
  • long-term monitoring


  • marine biology

Project Keywords

  • biosphere / aquatic ecosystems / benthic habitat
  • biosphere / aquatic ecosystems / coastal habitat

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During autumn 2016 to sring 2017 we focus on kelp reproduction and investigate the effects of season, winter warming and photoperiod on reproduction and recrutiment success of Arctic kelps over the dark period. We only have incomplete information about the reproductive season of all kelps in the Arctic. This shall be further addressed here in a quantitative approach investigating the fertility of all kelp species in autumn and spring in Kongsfjorden. Formation of recruitment stages (juvenile sporophytes from gametophytes) is subject to complex environmental control and not just a matter of light or temperature. Female gametophytes release eggs from oogonia in a synchronized way during the first hour of the night if exposed to diurnal day-night cycles which are only present in the Arctic during transient autumn and spring times. The egg release then induces male gametophytes to release their sperm and fertilize the eggs leading to the formation of a juvenile sporophyte – the recruitment stage. If gametophytes are exposed to continuous light which is present in Arctic summer, egg release also takes place but in an unsynchronized way. Theoretically this response pattern should negatively influence successful fertilization in continuous daylight (summer conditions) and enhance recruitment in autumn and spring irrespective of the actual fertile season of the sporophytes. We have only limited understanding how this transfers into actual sporophyte recruitment in the field and whether these general observations that were originallymade in material from temperate zones also applies to the Arctic. This aspect will be assessed in another experiment with autumn and spring material. The additional impact of increased winter temperatures will be investigated in a third experiment and combined with in situ field observations on the overwintering capacity of spores, gametophytes and juvenile recruitment stages.

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