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Journal of Marine Biology
Volume 2014, Article ID 275305, 10 pages
Research Article

A Comparison of Abundance and Diversity of Epiphytic Microalgal Assemblages on the Leaves of the Seagrasses Posidonia oceanica (L.) and Cymodocea nodosa (Ucria) Asch in Eastern Tunisia

1Faculty of Science of Sfax, Route de la Soukra km 4, BP 802, 3038 Sfax, Tunisia
2National Institute of Sciences and Technology of the Sea, BP 1035, 3018 Sfax, Tunisia

Received 23 February 2014; Revised 20 April 2014; Accepted 6 May 2014; Published 3 June 2014

Academic Editor: Andrew McMinn

Copyright © 2014 Lotfi Mabrouk et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We studied spatial patterns in assemblages of epiphytic microalgae on the leaves of two seagrass species with different morphologies and longevity, Cymodocea nodosa and Posidonia oceanica, which cooccur in Chebba in Eastern Tunisia. Epiphyte assemblages were described for each species in summer. Epiphyte microalgal assemblages were more abundant on the leaves of C. nodosa but more diversified on the leaves of P. oceanica. We suggest that the differences in species composition and abundance between those seagrass species may reflect an interaction of timescales of seagrass longevity with timescales of algal reproductive biology. Short-lived C. nodosa was dominated by fast growing species such as the cyanobacteria species Oscillatoria sp., while P. oceanica leaves were colonized by more mature and diversified species such as Prorocentrales. Local environmental conditions (hydrodynamics, light penetration), host characteristics (meadow type, shapes forms of leaves, life span, and growth rate), and grazing effect seem also to be responsible for these dissimilarities in epiphytic microalgae communities.