Presence of Sargassum horneri at Todos Santos Bay, Baja California, Mexico: Its Effects on the Local Macroalgae Community


To describe the annual cycle of Sargassum horneri in Mexican waters, we selected two sites differing in their degree of wave exposure and sediment type: Rincón de Ballenas (RB), and Rancho Packard (RP). From June 2009 to April 2010 we followed the seasonal changes in S. horneri density and biomass along two intertidal transects per site. The effects of this non-indigenous species on the local macroalgae community were assessed by comparing their species composition, density, biomass, species richness, and diversity index in quadrats with and without S. horneri. There were significant differences in S. horneri density and biomass between sites (P < 0.001). At RB the invasive alga density average was 2 ± 0.94 individual m-2, with a mean biomass of 4 ± 0.95 g DW m-2. At RP, S. horneri density average was 10 ± 0.96 individual m-2, and mean biomass of 102 ± 0.97 g DW m-2. At RB, the invasive alga promoted a significant reduction in the four selected structural variables, and the corticated macrophytes and the foliose functional forms were severely reduced. At RP, there were only marginally significant effects (P = 0.06) of S. horneri presence on the local macroalgae community, and higher density, biomass, and diversity values were found when S. horneri was present. Most of the functional forms were found, even if the invasive alga was present. At both locations, the highest biomass corresponded to the articulated calcareous functional form. These contrasting results could be due to the fact that the native macroalgae community has already been altered by the early invasion of S. muticum, with the most resilient species and functional forms remaining in place. One of the most important changes we noticed is the severe reduction of the canopy forming species at both sites.

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Cruz-Trejo, G. , Ibarra-Obando, S. , Aguilar-Rosas, L. , Poumian-Tapia, M. and Solana-Arellano, E. (2015) Presence of Sargassum horneri at Todos Santos Bay, Baja California, Mexico: Its Effects on the Local Macroalgae Community. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 6, 2693-2707. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2015.617271.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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