Variations in tissue nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) were examined over a complete seasonal cycle for five macroalgae common in Oregon coastal water. Tissue N ranged from 2.0 to 5.5% dry weight (dry wt) in leafy macroalgae (Enteromorpha intestinalis (Linnaeus) Link., Ulva fenestrata Postels et Ruprecht, and Porphyra sp.) and from 0.9 to 2.6% dry wt in branched macroalgae (Codium fragile (Suringar) Hariot and Pelvetiopsis limitata Setchell). Tissue P ranged from 0.32 to 0.86% dry wt in leafy macroalgae and from 0.27 to 0.50% dry wt in branched macroalgae. Ulva fenestrata, C. fragile, and P. limitata appeared to be N limited during part of the year based on tissue N levels. Variations in N:P showed a more distinct seasonal pattern than either tissue N and tissue P. All macroalgae examined appeared to be N limited at least part of the year based on N:P composition, and P limitation occurred for all macroalgae examined except C. fragile. Our results suggest that tissue N:P ratio for macroalgae may be a good index for evaluating in situ nutrient status.
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