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Neosiphonia howei (Ceramiales: Rhodomelaceae)—a common epiphyte of the spreading coral reef alga Lobophora variegata (Dictyotales: Dictyotaceae)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 February 2013

Anna Fricke*
Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), Fahrenheitstrasse 6, 28359 Bremen, Germany University of Bremen, Department of Marine Botany, Leobener Strasse NW2, 28359 Bremen, Germany
Tamara V. Titlyanova
A.V. Zhirmunsky Institute of Marine Biology, Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Palchevskogo 17, Vladivostok, 690041, Russia
Maggy M. Nugues
USR 3278 CRIOBE CNRS-EPHE and Laboratoire d'Excellence 'CORAIL', Centre de Biologie et d'Ecologie Tropicale et Méditerranéenne, Université de Perpignan, 66860 Perpignan Cedex, France CARMABI Foundation, Piscaderabaai z/n, PO Box 2090, Willemstad, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles
Kai Bischof
University of Bremen, Department of Marine Botany, Leobener Strasse NW2, 28359 Bremen, Germany
Correspondence should be addressed to: A. Fricke, University of Bremen, Department of Marine Botany, Leobener Strasse NW2, 28359 Bremen, Germany email:
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Fleshy macroalgae are becoming a dominant benthic component on Caribbean coral reefs, with increased abundance and frequency across all reef zones. Over the past two decades, the brown alga Lobophora variegata has proliferated on shallow and deep reefs in Curaçao, former Netherlands Antilles. This alga provides a living substrate for a diverse epiphytic community. Here we report on Neosiphonia howei (Rhodomelaceae: Ceramiales), growing epiphytically on L. variegata over a broad depth gradient (6.5 to 40 m). Although N. howei has been reported as a typical epiphyte in shallow water, it was commonly found on L. variegata blades on the reef slope in all fertile stages. This epiphyte anchored deeply into the host tissue, suggesting hemiparasitic behaviour. The spread of L. variegata may have increased the depth-range of N. howei and the exact nature of the interaction between N. howei and its host deserves further research considering the importance of fleshy macroalgae on coral reefs.

Research Article
Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2013

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