Marine Ecology Progress Series
Temporal variations in growth of the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera were examined in relation to ambient nutrient availability and chemical composition of mature blades, the primary site of nutrient and carbohydrate storage in M. pyrifera. The effect of nutrient availability on growth was well approximated by a Monod rectangular hyperbola, with growth saturating at ambient nitrate concentra- tions between 1 and 2 FM. M. pyrlfera was unable to generate nutrient reserves that would last beyond 30 d. Nitrogen reserves were stored as free amino acids, and generally constituted about 10 % of total tissue nitrogen. Total nitrogen content was never more than 2.5% of dry weight. There was no significant correlation between growth and tissue nitrogen. In contrast, carbohydrate levels were negatively correlated with growth rates, tissue nitrogen content, and ambient nutrient availability. Although concentrations of nitrogen and carbohydrate reserves showed familiar variations described for other kelps, the physical environment in southern California is probably not amenable to M. pyrifera making strategic use of these reserves. Nutrient availability appears to be too low to permit accumulation of more than 30 d reserve of nitrogen, and light levels are probably never low enough to make stored carbohydrate reserves necessary for survival.
Original Publication Citation
Zimmerman, R.C., & Kremer, J.N. (1986). In situ growth and chemical composition of the giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera: Response to temporal changes in ambient nutrient availability. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 27(3), 277-285. doi: 10.3354/meps027277
Zimmerman, Richard C. and Kremer, James N., "In Situ Growth and Chemical Composition of the Giant Kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera: Response to Temporal Changes in Ambient Nutrient Availability" (1986). OES Faculty Publications. 116.