Spatiotemporal patterns of phenology of the alien Phaeophyceae Sargassum muticum on the Atlantic coast of Morocco
Samir El Atouani, Zahira Belattmania, Soukaina Kaidi, Aschwin H. Engelen, Ester A. Serrão, Abdellatif Chaouti, Abdeltif Reani, Brahim Sabour

The present study focused on the dynamics of the phenology and life cycle of the Phaeophyceae invader Sargassum muticum at three sites on the Atlantic coast of Morocco over a period of two years (2013 and 2014). The results showed that S. muticum has two distinct growth phases; one with slower growth in winter followed by one with faster growth in spring-early summer, when the species exhibited high elongation and branching activities with thalli length ranging from 1 to more than 5 m depending on the study site. The site S1, with a rocky substratum covered by submerged sands, promotes thalli elongation, with maximum lengths of 643.33±11.10 cm recorded in July. At the rocky sites (S2 and S3), the maximum length of the seaweed depends on the pools’ depth. Although the elongation of thalli is enhanced by the water body depth, the settlements’ density (5-48 ind. m-2) seems to be mainly related to the nature of the substrate. The maturity index progressively increases from spring to early summer, when it reaches the highest values. S. muticum seems to be more abundant and more easily acclimated in shallow rockpools (sufficiently lighted and semi-exposed to wave action at the mid and lower tidal levels) than in protected sandy bottom sites with low hydrodynamic forces.

Keywords: population dynamics; Invasive macroalga; Sargassum muticum; Moroccan coastline
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 85(2) : 103-111 Back PDF
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