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Meiospores produced in sori of nonsporophyllous laminae of Macrocystis pyrifera (Laminariales, Phaeophyceae) may enhance reproductive output



Different lamina of Macrocystis pyrifera sporophytes (i.e., sporophylls, pneumatocyst-bearing blades, and apical scimitars) in a wave-sheltered site were found to be fertile. We quantified their sorus surface area, reproductive output (number of spores released) and the viability of released spores (germination rate). Sorus area was greatest on the sporophylls, with sporangia developing on >57% of the total area and smallest on the pneumatocyst-bearing blades with 21% of the total area bearing sporangia. The apical scimitar released the greatest number of meiospores (cells · mL−1 · cm−2) and the sporophylls the least. Meiospores produced from all types of fertile laminae were equally viable. This reproductive plasticity may enhance reproductive output, and contribute to short and long-distance spore dispersal and the cryptic gametophyte propagule bank for the next generation of sporophytes.