The Mediterranean deep-water kelp Laminaria rodriguezii is an endangered species in the Adriatic Sea

Ante Žuljevic´, Akira F. Peters, Vedran Nikolic, Boris Antolic, Marija Despalatovic, Ivan Cvitkovic´, Igor Isajlovic, Hrvoje Mihanovic, Slavica Matijevic´, Dawn Margaret Shewring, Simonepietro Canese, Christos Katsaros, Frithjof C Kuepper

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Abstract

Deep-water kelps are little-known large brown algae occurring close to the lower limit of photosynthetic life in the sea. This study compares historical and recent records of the deep-water Mediterranean kelp Laminaria rodriguezii in the Adriatic Sea. Historical records include data from herbarium collections and trawling fishery expeditions in the mid-twentieth century, while recent data comprise records of the last 17 years from MEDITS expeditions, ROV surveys of historical kelp locations, benthic surveys and records by fishermen. Altogether, these findings demonstrate that the Adriatic population of L. rodriguezii has suffered a decline of more than 85 % of its historical range and is now present only around the small offshore island of Palagruža. Bottom trawling activities are presumably responsible for the disappearance elsewhere. We propose to classify L. rodriguezii as “Endangered” in the Adriatic Sea under IUCN criteria B1ab(i,iii,iv), ver 3.1. Oceanographic characteristics of the habitat suggest that besides high water transparency, presence of North Adriatic Dense Water with both strong currents and stable low temperatures of around 14 °C are essential oceanographic factors for the development of L. rodriguezii in the Central Adriatic. The origin of cold water thus differs from that at upwelling sites permitting populations of tropical deep-water kelps. The phylogenetic position of L. rodriguezii is so far unknown. DNA sequences from nuclear and cytoplasmic markers of two thalli from Croatia and the western Mediterranean confirmed that L. rodriguezii is a member of the Laminariaceae and most closely related to L. ochroleuca, L. pallida and the Brazilian deep-water kelp L. abyssalis.
Original languageEnglish
Article number69
JournalMarine Biology
Volume163
Early online date14 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

Keywords

  • endangered algae
  • Circalittoral
  • cox1
  • Rubisco spacer
  • ITS
  • kelp
  • bottom trawling
  • IUCN criteria

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    Žuljevic´, A., Peters, A. F., Nikolic, V., Antolic, B., Despalatovic, M., Cvitkovic´, I., Isajlovic, I., Mihanovic, H., Matijevic´, S., Shewring, D. M., Canese, S., Katsaros, C., & Kuepper, F. C. (2016). The Mediterranean deep-water kelp Laminaria rodriguezii is an endangered species in the Adriatic Sea. Marine Biology, 163, [69]. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-016-2821-2