Processes leading to biomass variation of Ulva were investigated at two contrasting sites in the eutrophic Veerse Meer (The Netherlands). Ulva species dominated at the Middelplaten site, while at the Kwistenburg site a mixture of Ulva spp. and Chaetomorpha linum dominated. Total summer macroalgal biomass was higher at Middelplaten than at Kwistenburg (282 and 79 g DW m-2, respectively). Growth rates of Ulva spp. were high at both sites in May 1992 (cage mean 0.28-0.30 day-1), but quickly dropped to lower values (0.05-0.10 day-1). In May, growth rates were significantly highest at Kwistenburg, while during the rest of the season growth rates were similar for both sites. Temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, salinity, light attenuation, phytoplankton and nutrient concentrations did not differ between sites. The relation between variation in Ulva spp. growth rates and environmental parameters was analysed using stepwise multiple regression, showing that light and temperature were the main variables regulating Ulva spp. growth rates. As Ulva growth rates were similar for both sites but biomass was much lower at Kwistenburg it was concluded that a large amount of produced biomass was lost at Kwistenburg. Although the exact reason for this remains unclear, it seems most likely that transport of macroalgae by wind and waves is a very important factor. This study shows the importance of simultaneously measuring growth rates and biomass at a high temporal resolution to reveal the mechanisms responsible for spatial variation in macroalgal biomass in shallow coastal areas. [KEYWORDS: Chaetomorpha linum - Growth - Loss processes - Spatial variation - Ulva]
Original languageEnglish
JournalHelgoland Marine Research
Journal publication date2002

ID: 231243