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Journal Article

Pollinators of the sea: A discovery of animal-mediated fertilization in seaweed


Colin,  S       
Light Microscopy, Max Planck Institute for Biology Tübingen, Max Planck Society;

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Lavaut, E., Guillemin, M.-L., Colin, S., Faure, A., Coudret, J., Destombe, C., et al. (2022). Pollinators of the sea: A discovery of animal-mediated fertilization in seaweed. Science, 377(6605), 528-530. doi:10.1126/science.abo6661.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-D0AD-8
The long-held belief that animal-mediated pollination is absent in the sea has recently been contradicted in seagrasses, motivating investigations of other marine phyla. This is particularly relevant in red algae, in which female gametes are not liberated and male gametes are not flagellated. Using experiments with the isopod Idotea balthica and the red alga Gracilaria gracilis, we demonstrate that biotic interactions dramatically increase the fertilization success of the alga through animal transport of spermatia on their body. This discovery suggests that animal-mediated fertilization could have evolved independently in terrestrial and marine environments and raises the possibility of its emergence in the sea before plants moved ashore.