Epibionts associated with floating sargassum horneri in the Korea strait

Hye Mi Kim, Jihoon Jo, Chungoo Park, Byoung Ju Choi, Hyun Gwan Lee, Kwang Young Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Floating seaweed rafts are a surface-pelagic habitat that serve as substrates for benthic flora and fauna. Since 2008, Sargassum horneri clumps have periodically invaded the Korea Strait. In this study, the polymerase chain reaction–free small-organelles enriched metagenomics method was adopted to identify the species of epibiotic eukaryotes present in floating S. horneri fronds. A total of 185 species were identified, of which about 63% were previously undetected or unreported in Korean waters. The rafts harbored a diverse assemblage of eukaryotic species, including 39 Alveolata, 4 Archaeplastida, 95 Opisthokonts, 4 Rhizaria, and 43 Stramenopiles. Of these 185 taxa, 48 species were found at both Sargassum rafts collection stations and included 24 Stramenopiles, 17 Alveolata, and 7 Opisthokonts. Among these, the highest proportion (50%) of species was photo-autotrophic in basic trophic modes, while the proportion of phagotro-phic, osmo-or saprotrophic, and parasitic modes were 43.8%, 4.2%, and 2.1%, respectively. This study demonstrates the contribution of floating Sargassum rafts as dispersal vectors that facilitate the spread of alien species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-313
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Alien species
  • Floating seaweed
  • Korea Strait
  • Sargassum horneri
  • Small-organelles enriched metagenomics (SoEM)
  • Trophic mode


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