Floating seaweed in the neustonic environment: A case study from Belgian coastal waters

Sofie Vandendriessche, M Vincx, S Degraer

    Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftA1: Web of Science-artikel


    Floating seaweeds form the most important natural component of all floating material found on the surface of oceans and seas. Notwithstanding the absence of natural rocky shores, ephemeral floating seaweed clumps are frequently encountered along the Belgian coast. From October 2002 to April 2003, seaweed samples and control samples (i.e. surface water samples from a seaweed-free area) were collected every other week. Multivariate analysis on neustonic macrofaunal abundances showed significant differences between seaweed and control samples in the fraction > 1 mm. Differences were less conspicuous in the 0.5-1 mm fraction. Seaweed samples were characterised by the presence of seaweed fauna e.g. Acari, Idotea baltica, Gammarus sp., while control samples mainly contained Calanoida, Larvacea, Chaetognatha, and planktonic larvae of crustaceans and polychaetes. Seaweed samples (I turn fraction) harboured considerably higher diversities (x 3), densities (X 18) and biomasses (x 49) compared to the surrounding water column (control samples). The impact of floating seaweeds on the neustonic environment was quantified by the calculation of the added values of seaweed samples considering biomass and density. These calculations resulted in mean added values of 311 ind m(-2) in density and 305 mg ADW m(-2) in biomass. The association degree per species was expressed as the mean percentage of individuals found in seaweed samples in proportion to the total density and biomass of that species (seaweed samples + control samples). Thirteen species showed an association percentage >95 and can therefore be considered members of the floating seaweed fauna. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    TijdschriftJournal of Sea Research
    Pagina's (van-tot)103-112
    Aantal pagina's10
    StatusGepubliceerd - 1-feb-2006

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