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Mates matter: Gametophyte kinship recognition and inbreeding in the giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera (Laminariales, Phaeophyceae)

  • Camus, Carolina
  • Solas, Maribel
  • Martínez, Camila
  • Vargas, Jaime
  • Garcés, Cristóbal
  • Gil-Kodaka, Patricia
  • Ladah, Lydia
  • Serrão, Ester
  • Faugeron, Sylvain
Publication Date
Feb 14, 2021
DOI: 10.1111/jpy.13146
PMID: 33583038
OAI: oai:HAL:hal-03148985v1
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Inbreeding, the mating between genetically related individuals, often results in reduced survival and fecundity of offspring, relative to outcrossing. Yet, high inbreeding rates are commonly observed in seaweeds, suggesting compensatory reproductive traits may affect the costs and benefits of the mating system. We experimentally manipulated inbreeding levels in controlled crossing experiments, using gametophytes from 19 populations of Macrocystis pyrifera along its Eastern Pacific coastal distribution (EPC). The objective was to investigate the effects of male-female kinship on female fecundity and fertility, to estimate inbreeding depression in the F1 progeny, and to assess the variability of these effects among different regions and habitats of the EPC. Results revealed that the presence and kinship of males had a significant effect on fecundity and fertility of female gametophytes. Females left alone or in the presence of sibling males express the highest gametophyte size, number and size of oogonia, suggesting they were able to sense the presence and the identity of their mates before gamete contact. The opposite trend was observed for the production of embryos per female gametes, indicating higher costs of selfing and parthenogenesis than outcrossing on fertility. However, the increased fecundity compensated for the reduced fertility, leading to a stable overall reproductive output. Inbreeding also affected morphological traits of juvenile sporophytes, but not their heatwave tolerance. The male-female kinship effect was stronger in high latitude populations, suggesting that females from low latitude marginal populations might have evolved to mate with any male gamete to guarantee reproductive success.

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