The Mediterranean deep-water kelp Laminaria rodriguezii is an endangered species in the Adriatic Sea

Ante Žuljevic´, Akira F. Peters, Vedran Nikolic, Boris Antolic, Marija Despalatovic, Ivan Cvitkovic´, Igor Isajlovic, Hrvoje Mihanovic, Slavica Matijevic´, Dawn Margaret Shewring, Simonepietro Canese, Christos Katsaros, Frithjof C Kuepper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


Deep-water kelps are little-known large brown algae occurring close to the lower limit of photosynthetic life in the sea. This study compares historical and recent records of the deep-water Mediterranean kelp Laminaria rodriguezii in the Adriatic Sea. Historical records include data from herbarium collections and trawling fishery expeditions in the mid-twentieth century, while recent data comprise records of the last 17 years from MEDITS expeditions, ROV surveys of historical kelp locations, benthic surveys and records by fishermen. Altogether, these findings demonstrate that the Adriatic population of L. rodriguezii has suffered a decline of more than 85 % of its historical range and is now present only around the small offshore island of Palagruža. Bottom trawling activities are presumably responsible for the disappearance elsewhere. We propose to classify L. rodriguezii as “Endangered” in the Adriatic Sea under IUCN criteria B1ab(i,iii,iv), ver 3.1. Oceanographic characteristics of the habitat suggest that besides high water transparency, presence of North Adriatic Dense Water with both strong currents and stable low temperatures of around 14 °C are essential oceanographic factors for the development of L. rodriguezii in the Central Adriatic. The origin of cold water thus differs from that at upwelling sites permitting populations of tropical deep-water kelps. The phylogenetic position of L. rodriguezii is so far unknown. DNA sequences from nuclear and cytoplasmic markers of two thalli from Croatia and the western Mediterranean confirmed that L. rodriguezii is a member of the Laminariaceae and most closely related to L. ochroleuca, L. pallida and the Brazilian deep-water kelp L. abyssalis.
Original languageEnglish
Article number69
JournalMarine Biology
Early online date14 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgments Thanks are due to Klaus Lüning for a gametophyte
culture of L. abyssalis, and to Britta Schaffelke for a herbarium
specimen of L. rodriguezii from the western Mediterranean. We are
grateful to the Total Foundation (Paris) for funding this study within
the framework of the project “Brown algal ecology and biodiversity in
the eastern Mediterranean Sea”, and to the MASTS pooling initiative
(Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland, funded by
the Scottish Funding Council and contributing institutions; grant reference
HR09011), as well as Croatian Ministry of Science, Education
and Sports for supporting project “Benthic communities in the Adriatic
Sea (Project ID: 0001005)”.
Open access via Springer Compact Agreement


  • endangered algae
  • Circalittoral
  • cox1
  • Rubisco spacer
  • ITS
  • kelp
  • bottom trawling
  • IUCN criteria


Dive into the research topics of 'The Mediterranean deep-water kelp Laminaria rodriguezii is an endangered species in the Adriatic Sea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this