Webb, Frederick J., Jr. (ed.) / Proceedings of the Fourteenth Annual Conference on Wetlands Restoration and Creation : May 14-15, 1987
Bottone, Peter J.; Mattson, Robert A.
Preliminary report on transplanting of the benthic green alga Caulerpa prolifera, pp. 63-74 PDF (4.3 MB)
PRELIMINARY REPORT ON TRANSPLANTING OF THE BENTHIC GREEN ALGA CAULERPA PROLIFERA Peter J. Bottone Robert A. Mattson Mangrove Systems, Inc. P.O. Box 290197 Tampa, Florida 33687 ABSTRACT The benthic green alga Caulerpa prolifera (Chlorophyta: Siphon- ales) is frequently found in Tampa Bay seagrass beds, and forms extensive monospecific stands in some parts of the Bay. Per the requirements of the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation, an experimental transplanting project was designed and implemented in conjunction with the maintenance dredging of the MacDill Air Force Base marina entrance channel. Three plots of transplanted material were established using 20 cm square mats of Caulerpa installed on centers of approximately 0.3 m, 0.6 m and 1.0 m. Persistence and survival of transplanted material was 85-90% (estimated) ten days following transplanting. Five months later, survival was 100% of material installed on 0.3 m centers, 79% of material on 0.6 m centers, and 72% of material on 1.0 m centers. Results suggested that transplantation of this alga is both feasible and cost-effective. The ease with which transplantation can be accomplished has two principal applications: (1) this plant can be used to vegetate submerged areas quickly and in a cost-effective manner; and (2) transplantation of this alga can be employed to test hypotheses regarding the role that it may play as an early successional precursor to seagrass colonization or its possible competition with seagrasses. INTRODUCTION Siphonaceous green algae are benthic, rhizophytic algae which are important components of subtropical and tropical submerged macrophyte communities. However, their ecological roles are poorly characterized. Their level of primary production may be comparable to that of sea- grasses (Zieman & Wetzel 1980). In tropical areas, preliminary data suggest they may behave as pioneer species, initially colonizing bare substrate and preparing the area for subsequent colonization by seagrasses (Zieman 1982). Caulerpa prolifera (Chlorophyta: Siphonales) is a common component of Tampa Bay seagrass beds, and forms some large monospecific stands in parts of the Bay. In particular, a large stand exists along the southern shore of the Interbay peninsula in the vicinity of MacDill Air Force Base. In accordance with a Florida Department of Environmental Regula- tion permit issued for the maintenance dredging of the MacDill Air 63
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