New confirmed depth limit of Antarctic macroalgae: Palmaria decipiens found at 100 m depth in the Southern Ocean
Living specimens of the macroalga Palmaria decipiens were collected from 100 m depth, representing a new confirmed depth record, considerably exceeding the previous record of 42 m depth. Previous deeper collections (below conventional SCUBA depths) have relied on dredge/grab samples or drop camera surveys. Remote techniques cannot conclusively prove that macroalgae are living at these depths, as algae detach from shallower substrata, e.g., through ice scouring, and drift to depths below their growth limit. This, combined with a low rate of decay of macroalgae around Antarctica, requires validation that algal samples from depth have grown in situ. Estimates of macroalgal biomass, energy fluxes, and the potential energy fixation may need adjusting to consider the deeper growing depths particularly with glacial retreat along the Antarctic Peninsula revealing areas of rocky substrata for macroalgal colonisation. The confirmed extension of depth where macroalgae can grow will have implications for assessments of benthic productivity and food webs in Antarctica.
Authors: Robinson, Ben Jamie Owen ORCID record for Ben Jamie Owen Robinson, Morley, Simon A. ORCID record for Simon A. Morley, Rizouli, Anastasia, Sarantopoulou, Joanne, Gkafas, George A., Exadactylos, Athanasios, Küpper, Frithjof C.