Research Technical Report
Factors Influencing the Pedal Laceration Frequency of a Subtropical Anemone
King, C.E. (August 2003)
Master of Science Thesis, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, CA
Adaptation of sea anemones to changing environmental parameters such as temperature, irradiance and disturbance can manifest itself in the modification of individual size and frequency of asexual reproduction. The purpose of this study was to investigate, through manipulative field experiments and observational data, the effects that light, nutrition and disturbance have on size and asexual reproduction of Aiptasia californica, a subtropical zooxanthellate anemone that uses non-genicullate coralline algae as a common substrate within Bahía Concepcíon, Mexico. Diversity of the symbiont (Symbiodinium sp.) was also investigated using restriction fragment length polymorphisms of partial 18S ribosomal DNA. Results indicate that rhodolith instability is the primary determinant of pedal laceration frequency and biomass of A. californica. Biomass increases with depth, where water motion and disturbance decrease. The effects of irradiance and nutrition remain uncertain. Symbiosis occurs with one of five previously described clades of Symbiodinium. The adaptive significance of monomorphic symbiosis and worldwide symbioses are discussed.