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An update on the benthic algae of Mansfield pass, texas.

Abstract - The macroalgal flora of the jetties at Mansfield Pass were examined from July 2002 to June 2003 in order to observe seasonal variations, to assess the effect of wave energy on macroalgal populations, and to compile a comprehensive species checklist. Nine sites, six on the north jetty and three on the south, were established to observe differences in the macroalgae flora with respect to time and season. Thirty-six species were collected during this study, twenty-two of which were Rhodophyta. Sixteen species are reported for the first time at Mansfield Pass. A Cheney ratio of 5.13 was calculated from this study, which indicates that the Mansfield Pass area is sub-tropical. Species richness appears to be somewhat seasonal; only sixteen of the thirty-seven benthic species were harvested year-round. Seasonality, with respect to biomass, varied monthly with a high of 21.9kg [m.sup.-2] in April 2004 and a low of 3.63kg [m.sup.-2] in October 2003. Wave energy affected the macroalgal flora as several species appeared only at those sites where wave energy was low.

The macroalgae, a critical component of ecological communities in the estuaries and gulf waters of Texas, are among the least studied biological groups in the U.S. (Lehman 1999). Because of its isolation, the Mansfield Pass area has been particularly understudied, especially with regard to macroalgae. Kaldy et al. (1995) reported little or no information available regarding the Mansfield Pass jetties, their investigation being the first to report exclusively on them. They suggested that the number of macroalgal species recorded from Mansfield Pass was low in comparison to other Texas coastal jetties and a more diverse flora would be likely revealed with continued investigation.

This study provides an update to the macroalgal community of Mansfield Pass. Through intensive sampling this study was able to assess a broader coverage of macroalgae than previous studies. In addition, over a prolonged period (multiple seasons) this study was able to account for seasonal periodicity in the macroalgal community that previous studies did not include. As a result 16 additional species of macroalgae were documented and catalogued that had not been previously reported for the area, increasing the total species richness for the site from thirty-two to forty-eight.


Mansfield Pass is a relatively remote, man-made, tidal inlet linking the Port of Mansfield to the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. It is accessible only by a nine-mile boat ride from Port Mansfield, a 63-mile four-wheel drive south down Padre Island National Seashore from Corpus Christi, or a 34-mile four-wheel drive north from South Padre Island. The Mansfield Pass jetties are located at approximately 26[degrees] 34' N and 97[degrees] 16' W. Finished in 1958, Mansfield Pass connects the Gulf of Mexico to the lower Laguna Madre and is lined with granite jetties. Mansfield Pass and the Laguna Madre are considered subtropical. Both air and water temperatures are highest during July, and coolest during January and February, respectively.


This study was conducted from July 2002 to June 2003 to assess the macroalgal community along the rocky jetties of Mansfield Pass (26[degrees] 34' N and 97[degrees] 16' W). Nine sites along both sides of the north and south jetties were identified to ensure that both the protected and exposed sides were sampled bimonthly using destructive sampling techniques. At each site transects were set along jetty rocks extending vertically from the high water line to the submerged sandy substratum and a 20 by 20cm (0.04[m.sup.2]) quadrat was sampled at 10cm intervals. Transects extended from the supralittoral to the sublittoral zones to allow all macroalgac present to be sampled. Transect length varied by location due to the depth variation from near to offshore.

For this study a total of 168 quadrats were examined for their algal content. Identification of specimens to the level of species (or to the lowest possible taxon) took place at the Center for Coastal Studies Graduate Laboratory at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Species identification followed Littler & Littler (2000) and Taylor (1960). Taxonomic classification was later updated following Wynne (2005; 2009). Herbarium voucher specimens were prepared according to Tsuda & Abbott (1985), and are stored with the Phycological Collections in the Ruth O'Brien Herbarium at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Microscope slides of structures aiding in species identification, such as reproductive and identifying structures (e.g., tetraspores and utricles), were also prepared by washing specimens with seawater and 45% isopropyl alcohol followed by preservation with Polymount [TM]

In addition to species richness, Cheney's floristic ratio was calculated (Cheney 1977; Mathieson & Penniman 1986; Kaldy et al. 1995), where a value--3.0 indicates a temperate flora and a value > 6.0 indicates a tropical flora; intermediate values represent mixed flora. The values obtained from this ratio were used as an index of the geographical and climatic nature of algal flora.


This study reports 36 species of benthic macroalgae in three divisions from the Mansfield Pass jetties (Table 1). There were 22 species of Rhodophyta recorded (56.4% of the total), followed by the Chlorophyta with 11 species (28.2% of the total), and three species of Ochrophyta (12.8% of the total). Species richness was greatest during July (29 species) and lowest during June (23 species). In December and February (the two coolest months) species richness was 24 and 28 species, respectively.

Table 1. Taxonomic list showing species confirmed for Mansfield Pass, Texas. An asterisk (*) indicates a new record for Mansfield Pass. Species marked by a dagger (t) were found by Kaldy et al. (1995) but were not recorded during this study, July, 2002 -June, 2003. Taxonomic arrangement follows Wynne (2009).

DIVISION: RHODOPHYTA Subdivision Eurhodophytina Class Bangiophyceae


Family: Bangiaceae

Purphyra rosenguittii Coll et J. Cox [P. leucosticta]

Class Florideophyceae Subclass Nemaliophycidae


Family: Acrochaetiaceae

Aeroehaetium spp. Nageli in Nageli & Cramer, 1858 [Liagorophila] [dagger]


Family: Corallinaceae

Subfamily: Corallinoideae Jania capillacea Harv. [dagger]

Jania cubensis Mont, ex Kutz. [Haliptilon cubense*, Coraltina cuhensis]*

Jania subitlata (J. Ellis et Sol.) Sond. [Haliptilon siihulatiim*, Corallna subittata]*


Family: Callithamniaceae

Aglaothamnion halliae (Collins) N. Aponte, D. L. Ballant & J.N. Norris [byssoides sensu and,; pseudohyssoides sensu auci.; westbrookiae: Caltithamnion byssoides sensu auct. pro partem C. byssoides ["byssoideum"] var. jamaicensis; C halliae: C. pseudobyssoides sensu auct.]*

Family: Ceramiaceae

Centroceras elavulatum (C. Agardh in KutUh) Mont, in Duricu de Maisonneuve

Ceramium cimbricum H.E. Petersen in Rosenv. [fastigiatum Harv. In Hook., non Roth; fastigiramosum]* Family: Spyridiaceae

Spyridia hypnoides (Bory in Belanger) Papenf. [aculeata]*

Family; Rhodomelaceae

Bryocladia cuspidata (J. Agardh) De Toni

Bryocladia thrysigera (J. Agardh) F. Schmitz in Falkenb.

Chondria spp. C. Agardh, nom. cons. [dagger]

Digenia simplex (Wulfen) C Agardh [dagger]

Palisada poiteaui (J.V. Lamour.) K.W. Nam [Chondrophycus poitei, Laurencia poiteaui; L poitei]

Polysiphonia denudata (Dillwyn) Grev. ex Harv. In Hook.

Polysiphonia suhtitissma Mont.


Family: Gelidiaceae

Gelidium crinale (Turner) Gail Ion [dagger]

Gelidiumpusillum (Stackh.) Lc Jolis *

Pterocladiella bartlettii (W.R. Taylor) Santel. [Pterocladia bartlettii]


Family: Cystocloniaceae [Hypneaceae]

Hypnea musciformis (Wulfcn in Jacqu.) J.V. Lamour. [arborescens]

Hypnea valentine (Turner) Mont, [gracilarioides]

Family: Solieriaceae [Wurdemanniaccae]

Agardhiella suhulata (C. Agardh) Kraft & MJ. Wynne [tenera; Neoagardhiella baileyi]*


Family: Gracilariaceae

Gracilaria isabellana Gurgel, Frcdcricq & J.N. Norris [lacinulata (Vahl) M.

Howe nom. illeg.; non G. lachntlata (P. Crouan & H. Crouan) Piccone; foliifera sensu Taylor pro parte; multipartita sensu aucL] [dagger]

Gracilaria tikvahiae McLachlan [foliilera var. Angustissimd]*

Hydropuntia caudata (J. Agardh) Gurgel & Frcdcricq [Gracilaria caudata]*


Family: Halymeniaceae

Grateloitpiafilicina (J.V. Lamour.) C. Agardh [concatennata]

Grateloupiapterocladina (M.J. Wynne) S. Kawaguchi & H.W. Wang in Wang et al. [Prionitis pterocladina]


Family: Rhodymeniaceae

Rhodymeniapseudopalmata (J.V. Lamour.) P.C. Silva


Class Phaeophyceae


Family: Dictyotaeeae

Dictyota ciliolata Sond. ex Kiitz. [ciliata] [dagger]

Dictyota menstriialis (Hoyt) Schnetter, Horning, & Weber-Peukert [dichotoma var. menstrulis; dichotoma sensu auct., non (Huds.) J. V. Lamour.] [dagger]

Padina gymnospora (Kiitz.) Sond. [vickcrsiae]



Ecfocarpus siliculosus (Dillwyn) Lyngb. [arctus; confervoides; dasycarpus]

Family: Scytosiphonaceae [Chnoosporaceae]

Petalonia fascia (O. F. Mull.) Kuntzc *


Family: Sargassaceae

Sargassum filipendula C. Agardh


Class Ulvophyceae


Family: Bryopsidaceae

Bryopsis pennata J.V. Lamour.

Family: Codiaceae

Codium taylorii P.C. Silva *


Family: Cladophoraceae

Chaetomorpha aerea (Dillwyn) Kutz. *

Chaetomorpha antennina (Bory) Kutz. [media] [dagger]

Chaetomorpha Hmtm (O.F. Mull.) Kiutz *

Cladophora alhida (Nees) Kutz. [glaucescens; scitula] *

Cladophora prolifera (Roth) Kutz. *

Cladophora vagabunda (L.) C. Hoek [crucigera; expanda; fascicularis; sertularina; mauritiana; brachyciona]


Family: Polyphysaceae

Acetabularia crenulata J. V. Lamour. [dagger]


Family: Ulvaceae

Ulva fascists Delile

Ulva flexuosa Wulfen [Enteromorpha flexuosa; E. lingulata; E. prolifera var. flexuosa; E, tubulosa] *

Ulva lactuca L.*

Ulva prolifera O.F. Mull. [Enteromorpha prolifera; E. salina; E. salina var. polyclados; E, torta]*

It should be noted that of the 36 species of benthic macroalgae reported from Mansfield Pass, 16 species (43%) were consistently reported during each sampling period (Table 2). Those species collected were considered common algae, whereas those species not found every sampling period were considered unique (seasonal) algae. Of the 22 species for division Rhodophyta, only half of them were consistently found at every sampling event; however, of the Chlorophyta only three species were consistently present and only two of the Ochrophyta.
Table 2. Seasonal periodicity of macroalgal species confirmed for
Mansfield Pass, Texas from July 2002 to June 2003. An "x" indicates
that a species was collected and confirmed for the indicated sampling

Species                     July  Oct.  Dec.  Feb.  April  June

Agardhiella subutata        X     x     X     X
Aglaothamnkm halliae        X                       X
Bryocladia cuspidata        x     X     X     x     X      x
Bryocladia thrysigera       X     x     x     x     x      x
Centroceras ciavulafum      x     x     x     x     X      x
Ceraminm ciinhricum         X     X           X     x      X
Gelidium putsillum          X     X     X     X     X      X
Hydropuntia caudata                                 X      X
Gracilaria tikvahiae        x     X           X     X
Grateloupia filicina        X     X     x     x     X      x
Jania cuhensis              X
Jania suhulata              x     X     X     X     X      x
Hypnea musciformis          X     X     X     X     X      X
Hypnea valentiae            X     x     x     X
Palisada poiieaui                                   X
Polysiphonia denudata                                      x
Polysiphotiia siihtilissma  X     X     X     X     X      X
Porphyra rosengurttii                         X     X
Porateloupia pterocladina   X     X           X     X      X
Pierocladiella harlletii    X     X                        X
Rhodymenia pseudopalmata    x     X     x     X     x      x
Spyridia hyp no ides        X     X     x     x     X      x
Bryopsis pennata            X     X     X     X     X      x
Chaetomorpha aerea          X     X     X     X            X
Chaetomorpha Unum                 X                 x
Cladophora alhida           X     X     X     x     X
Cladophora prolifera        x                 X     x      X
Cladophora vagahunda        X     X     X     X     X      X
Codiuni tavlorii            X                              X
Ulva flexuosa               X           x     x     X
Ulva prolifera              x     X     X     X     X
Ulva fasciata               x     X     X     X     X      X
Ulva lactuca                x     X     X     X     X      X
Ectocarpus siliculosus                  X     X
Padina gymnospora           X     X     X     X     X      X
Sargassum fdipendida        X     X     X     X     X      X

Three species of macroalgae were common to all nine sites: Grateloupia filicina, Cladophora vagahunda, and Ulva faseiata. An additional six species were common to eight of the nine sites, five belonging to the Rhodophyta and the other to Chlorophyta. An additional fifteen species were common to at least five of the nine sites.


Of all the species observed during this study, seven were limited to one side of a jetty: five on the north sides and two on the south sides. Five of the seven unique algae were located on the north jetty of Mansfield Pass, and four of those five were located on the north side of the north jetty (beach side). This phenomenon of species of macroalgae living at only one wave energy level has been documented. Whorff et al. (1995) found that delicate algae (e.g., Polysiphonia denudata) occur only in locations with low mean wave height. Begin & Schcilbling (2003) reported that survival of an individual Codium fragile ssp. tomentosoides plant was negatively related to the ratio of its circumference-to-length. This suggests that large bushy plants are more likely to be dislodged by wave forces. Thus, it is probable that the location of these macroalgae at a particular site is limited by wave energy. An additional factor affecting distribution, not sampled in this study, was the presence or absence of algal grazers.

The Cheney ratio for the Mansfield Pass jetties was found to be 6.83, indicating a tropical flora. This value is higher than the ratio of 5.0 reported by Kaldy et al. in 1995. Other recent floristic surveys have found lower ratios, for example Kapraun (1974) on the Louisiana coast obtained a ratio of 2.7, and Lopez-Bautista et al. (2002) calculated a ratio of 4.7 using the macroalgae of offshore oil platforms off the coast of Louisiana. More recently a study examining the jetties of Packery Channel indicated a ratio of 9.0, which suggests a highly tropical nature (Fikes & Lehman 2008; Fikes & Lehman 2010). In contrast, Cheney ratios of 6.2 and 5.2 were reported by Edwards & Kapraun (1973) and by Edwards (1976), respectively, in the Port Aransas, Texas area. In 1999, Lehman reported on the macroalgal species of the Corpus Christi Bay area, and determined a Cheney ratio of 6.4.

The number of species of benthic macroalgae found at the Mansfield Pass was expanded during this study from 32 species listed by Kaldy et al. (1995) to 48 species. In their study of Mansfield Pass, Kaldy et al. (1995) found ten species of algae that were not collected in this study (six in division Rhodophyta, two in division Ochrophyta, and two in division Chlorophyta). Seventeen additional species were reported during this study previously unrecorded (eight in division Rhodophyta, one in division Ochrophyta, and eight in division Chlorophyta).

Using the Cheney ratio for all confirmed species at Mansfield Pass for both studies results in a ratio of 8.2. This ratio indicates tropical affinity, but one that is probably too high for the area. Other areas considered more tropical have a lower ratio, for example, a Cheney ratio of 7.2 was obtained for Enmedio Reef; Veracruz, Mexico (Lehman & Tunnell 1992). Cheney's Floristic Ratio was designed to characterize established communities that are not in a state of transition. Depending on the rate of disturbance in a habitat the Cheney method may not be the best approach to characterize the community. Similar findings have also been shown for Packery Channel, where a community in early succcssional stages yielded a higher than expected ratio (Fikes & Lehman 2010).


Temperature is the major factor controlling geographical distribution of marine algae (Edwards & Kapraun 1973). Macroalgal seasonality in warm-water regions such as the western Gulf of Mexico is often related to temperature and desiccation (Mathieson et al. 1981; Mathieson & Penniman 1986). Seasonal variation in the macroalgal flora was found at this location; however, species richness changed only slightly between seasons. Philips (1960) suggested that mild winters allow for the growth of subtropical algae in the colder months. This trend is supported by the research of others (Edwards & Kapraun 1973; Kapraun 1974), and has been explained by some as being the result of increased tolerance to reduced salinity in colder water (Conover 1958;, Wood &Palmatier 1954).

Wave exposure appeared to be a major factor affecting species richness along the jetties. Wave energy was distinguished by making visual observations in wave amplitude, turbidity, and current. Due to the southeasterly nature of the winds in this region, sites on the south side of a jetty received more energy than sites on the north side. This has been shown by a number of studies, several occurring locally (Kaldy et al. 1995; Agan & Lehman 2001; Fikes & Lehman 2010). For this study, as wave energy increased so did the species richness, which is important for understanding spatial differences in the algal community of the jetty system. Also, benthic macroalgal communities most often exhibit spatial patchiness in species composition (Chapman & Underwood 1998), making them difficult to characterize at a microhabitat scale.


The National Park Service, Padre Island National Seashore graciously allowed this survey to occur and provided the permit to sample the jetties of Mansfield Pass. The Biology Program in the Department of Life Sciences at TAMU-Corpus Christi also gave generous support for this project.


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Ryan L. Fikes, Roy L. Lehman, and Kyle V. Klootwyk Department of Life Sciences, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi 6300 Ocean Drive, Corpus Christi, Texas 78412
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Author:Fikes, Ryan L.; Lehman, Roy L.; Klootwyk, Kyle V.
Publication:The Texas Journal of Science
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2010
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