The main objective of this project is to study the nature of biogeographical boundaries for species of Gelidium in the coast of Asturias. This would be achieved by means of three different experimental approaches:
1.- Comparison of the geographical ranges of species of Gelidium with those of selected environmental factors, mainly temperature (oscillation ranges) and nutrients (seasonal limitation and presence of local upwelling processes).
2.- Culture of species of Gelidium in controled conditions, to test the effect of individual factors and combinations of factors in growth, survival and reproduction.
3.- Transplant of specimens from sites where they are abundant to sites where they are rare or absent, to test the actual presence and the nature of distributional boundaries, and to compare these results with those obtained in culture.
This general objective allows some additional studies, the most important the attempt to complete the life history of several species of Gelidium, so far unknown, by these culture studies. Also, the comparison of reproductive features of culture-induced gametophytes and tetrasporophytes is considered paramount to clarify the confuse taxonomy of this group.
Combined with this general background and objectives, the description of species distribution in the coast of Spain may add new species to the list of Gelidium, similarly as what happened in the coast of Ireland with G. maggsiae or Gelidiella calcicola, or expand the current distribution of recently described entitites. It is intended to make this project a continuation, albeit reducing the geographical scale, of that included in the previous HCM fellowship.