Fertility of seaweeds

Bogaert et al. (2016)

Seaweed recruitment can be manipulated both through attachment structures and the timing of propagule production. Moreover, from a practical perspective control over fertility and gamete release is vital for embryological work and modern genomics. We focus on the regulation of release periodicity in Dictyota dichotoma, aiming to understand fertility by examining (1) the abiotic factors influencing fertility and (2) the lunar endogenous clock controlling the synchronous release of male and female gametes. Like in animals, seaweed reproductions is regulated by circadian, circalunar and seasonal rhythms.

  • Bogaert KA*, Beeckman T, De Clerck O (2016) Abiotic regulation of growth and fertility in the sporophyte of Dictyota dichotoma (Hudson) J.V. Lamouroux (Dictyotales, Phaeophyceae). Journal of Applied Phycology 28:  2915-2924.
  • Liu, X., Bogaert, K., Engelen, A. H., Leliaert, F., Roleda, M. Y., & De Clerck, O.* (2017). Seaweed reproductive biology: environmental and genetic controls. Botanica Marina, 60(2), 89-108.

Embryological work on kelps requires control over fertility. In seaweeds that release their gametes externally, it is easy to obtain large populations of synchronously developing zygotes free from viable parthenotes and maternal tissue. The attachment of eggs to the maternal gametophyte and the repeated gamete release over days obscure different cohorts. The study of kelp embryogenesis is further conflated by the occurrence of parthenogenetic development. Here, we aim to contribute insights for the study of economically important kelps, aiding sustainable seaweed aquaculture. For example by synchronizing kelp fertilisation and by mitigating the occurrence of parthenotes.

  • Dries E, Meyers Y, Liesner D, Gonzaga F, Becker, J, Zakka EE., Beeckman T, Coelho S, De Clerck O & Bogaert KA* (2024). Cell wall-mediated maternal control of apical-basal patterning of the kelp Undaria pinnatifida. bioRxiv, 2024-04.