Water motion did not inhibit gamete release in cultures of the coenocytic green alga Bryopsis plumosa (Hudson) C. Agardh; however, the number of gametangia that released gametes increased significantly under transiently calm conditions. This stimulatory effect of calm conditions in the laboratory was found in isolates from two different areas of the Maine coast. The isolates were all monoecious, but strong differences in levels of fertilization, numbers of male and female gametes remaining following fertilization, and levels of polygamy (=zygotes formed by fusions of more than two gametes) were observed among isolates. These data support the hypothesis that organisms with external fertilization are able to sense and respond to water motion in ways that favor reproductive success.
Keywords: Bryopsis; DNA microspectrophotometry; fertilization ecology; hydrodynamics; polyspermy; recruitment; reproductive ecology.
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