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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mechanisms underlying marine macroalgal invasions : understanding invasion success of Sargassum muticum White, Laura Linsey Fallaize


This thesis examines different aspects of invasion success of the brown macroalga Sargassum muticum. Chapter two investigates the relationship between native diversity and invasibility by S. muticum in experimental and unmanipulated communities of low intertidal macroalgae. I found that diversity effects on invasion varied from positive to negative with life history stage of the invader. Native diversity facilitated recruitment of S. muticum, but decreased growth and or survivorship. Phenological differences between S. muticum and native macroalgal species may contribute to the success of this invader in British Columbia. Chapter three explores the effects of S. muticum on native macroalgal diversity at different densities by manipulating exotic density in natural communities. I found that the effects of S. muticum on native macroalgal richness were both density and time dependent, and are mediated through competition for light. The reciprocal interaction between S. muticum and native macroalgal diversity has shown effects in both directions, and suggest some degree of symmetry in the interaction between non-native S. muticum and native macroalgae. Chapter four examines whether non-native S. muticum is less grazed than native macroalgae in British Columbia, and whether the concentrations of defensive polyphenolic compounds in the tissue of the exotic differ from native conspecifics. In contrast to the predictions of the Enemy-Release Hypothesis, I showed that when presented a choice, native herbivores do not discriminate between native and non-native macroalgae. The levels of polyphenolic defenses in the exotic were similar to some native macroalgae, suggesting differences in polyphenolic concentrations are not influencing herbivore choice. Reduced grazing of non-native S. muticum by native herbivores is not contributing to the success of this invasive in British Columbia. Chapter five tests two predictions of the Evolution of Increased Competitive Ability hypothesis; whether S. muticum in non-native regions attains greater sizes and lower chemical defenses than conspecifics in the native region. We compared the size (as a measure of performance) and levels of polyphenolic defenses of S. muticum from its native and invaded regions. My preliminary results suggest that in non-native regions, S. muticum attains larger sizes with lower levels of defensive polyphenolic compounds than native regions.

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