Relating the Morphology of the kelp Laminaria digitata to incident wave exposure and current velocity
This scientific poster was presented at the 4th INORE symposium, which was held in Dartmouth, England, on 9-14 May 2010.
Abstract: Previous studies have shown that many species of kelp exhibit considerable plasticity in morphological and biomechanical properties in contrasting energy environments. One such species, Laminaria igitata, is the dominant kelp of the upper sublittoral zone on rocky shores around the UK and as such, is among those coastal organisms most affected by wave activity. A number of locations have been selected around the Narrows in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland, and the Irish Sea, to exhibit a variety of wave and current characteristics. Morphological measurements were made on individuals of L. digitata, collected on a seasonal basis, from each site. The frond-like laminae are found to possess more digitate blades and are thicker in wave exposed areas, lamina length is found to decrease due to wave induced apical erosion. Samples from a site selected to exhibit high current velocities, with little or no wave activity, were found to have the longest average stipe length. This data will further be correlated to detailed measurements of wave activity and current velocities taken using an acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) as well as other known wave-exposure indicator species being sampled to allow use of L. digitata as an accurate indicator of wave exposure.
Keywords: Wave Exposure, Currents, Shore Ecology
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