Sargassum reproduction and life history
Sargassum muticum is:
(eggs and sperm on same plant and on same
Summary of Basic Life Cycle
Fertile branches of adult algae produce gametes (see Morphology ). When the ova are squeezed out of the conceptacle, they are not broadcast into the surrounding water like most algal gametes, but remain attached to the receptacle by a mucilaginous stalk made of mesochitin. After fertilization, the zygotes continue to grow on the parent for several days before dropping to ocean floor. The enveloping mucilage protects them from environmental stress, as does their multicellular form. Their large size also allows them to settle rapidly, and the well-developed rhizoids adhere quickly to the substrate. This results in germlings settling near the parent (within 3 meters), where conditions are likely to be favorable.
Alternative Disperal Mechanism
Fertile branches break off from the holdfast and float away. When the germlings are released a long distance from the parent, they do not have to compete with their own relatives and can settle in new territory. The combination of these two dispersal mechanisms proves to be an effective system for global spread.
Interesting Tidbits about Settlement
Last updated: 05 January 2005 copyright Jacqueline Pratt 1999. All rights reserved.