Compensatory abilities depending on seasonal timing of thallus excision of the kelp Undaria pinnatifida cultivated in Matsushima Bay, northern Japan

Xu Gao, Hikaru Endo, Makoto Yamana, Kazuya Taniguchi, Yukio Agatsuma

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Improved cultivation technology for the kelp Undaria pinnatifida is greatly needed to increase production to meet increasing commercial demand. A previous cultivation trial indicated that the crop yield of U. pinnatifida sporophytes could be increased greatly by thallus excision in late February due to compensatory growth of the remaining tissues. To develop this potential new cultivation technology, it is essential to identify the time period during which this kelp can compensate and its physiological responses to thallus excision. In this study, U. pinnatifida sporophytes were excised at about 30 cm above the meristem at the beginning of January, February, March, and April, respectively. Morphological features, photosynthesis, nutrient uptake, and carbon and nitrogen contents of excised kelps were measured and compared with these parameters in control kelps grown without excision. Both experimental and control kelps were farmed together in Matsushima Bay, northern Japan. The kelps excised in January and February showed significant increases in the lengths and dry weights of the blade, photosynthetic rates, nutrient uptake rates, and carbon and nitrogen contents compared with the control kelps, and the growth phase was prolonged for at least 1 month. No significant increases were found in dry weights and carbon and nitrogen contents of sporophylls until early April, which indicated that the maturation period was delayed. At the end of this experiment, the nitrogen contents of sporophyll tissues formed after excisions were significantly lower than those of tissues formed before excisions. In contrast, the kelps excised in March and April showed no significant increases in morphological and physiological parameters compared with control kelps. These results suggest that U. pinnatifida sporophytes exhibited great compensation when excisions were conducted during the growing phase in January and February but not in March and April when the maturation phase had started. The regulation of resource allocation to growth and maturation after thallus excisions in January and February likely results in prolongation of the growth phase and maturation phase in excised kelps.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1331-1340
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Applied Phycology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2013 Oct 1


    • Compensation
    • Cultivation
    • Phaeophyta
    • Resource allocation
    • Thallus excision
    • Undaria pinnatifida

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Aquatic Science
    • Plant Science


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