Effects of filamentous algae and deposited matter on the survival ofFucus vesiculosusL. germlings in the Baltic Sea

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Abstract

As a result of increased nutrient levels in the Baltic Sea during thepast 50 years, mass developments of filamentous algae have become a commonfeature along the Swedish east coast and deposition of organic matter has alsoincreased. To test whether these two factors have any effects on the early lifestages of Fucus vesiculosus a number of laboratory andfield studies were conducted. The amount of epilithic and epiphytic filamentousalgae on F. vesiculosus and the amount of deposited matterin the littoral zone were quantified during the two reproductive periods ofF. vesiculosus, early summer (May-June) and lateautumn (September-October). Both filamentous algae (Cladophoraglomerata) and deposited matter (introduced either before or aftersettlement of fertilized eggs) were shown to significantly decrease the numberof surviving germlings. The survival of germlings seeded on stones withfilamentous algae, or seeded on culture dishes concurrently with the lowestconcentration of deposited matter (0.1 g dm-2),was 5% or less. In the field, the amount of filamentous algae was significantlyhigher during F. vesiculosus summer reproduction, whereasthe amount of deposited matter collected in traps was significantly higherduring the period of autumn reproduction. The greatest biomass of filamentousalgae was observed at sheltered sites. Based on the negative effects offilamentous algae and deposited matter on Fucusrecruitmentand the observation of local and seasonal differences in abundance offilamentous algae and deposition, we suggest that the prerequisites for thesurvival of either summer or autumn-reproducing populations of F.vesiculosus in the Baltic Sea may differ locally.

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