The influence of water motion on the growth rate of the kelp Laminaria hyperborea

Louise Kregting, Andrew John Blight, Bjorn Elsaeser, Graham Savidge

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11 Citations (Scopus)


The kelp Laminaria hyperborea is a dominant component of the subtidal nearshore ecosystem and is subjected to a heterogeneous wave and current climate. Water motion is known to influence physiological processes in macroalgae such as photosynthesis and nutrient uptake attributed to mass-transfer limitation. The study attempts to establish the effect of water motion on the growth rates of blades and elongation rates of the stipes of L. hyperborea at adjacent wave-exposed and wave-sheltered locations over a 12 month period from field observations. The observations were supported by detailed physical and chemical measurements (light, temperature, seawater nutrient concentrations and hydrodynamics) and of tissue carbon and nitrogen concentrations together with δ13 carbon. Despite a 30% difference in the root mean square of the velocity (Velrms) between the two survey locations, there was no evidence to suggest that water motion had any direct influence on the growth rates of either the blades or elongation of stipes of L. hyperborea. No significant differences were observed between either environmental or plant physiological
variables between the sheltered and exposed locations. Using an integral velocity parameter (Velrms) the present study also highlighted the importance of the tidally induced current component of water flow in the subtidal zone.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337
Number of pages345
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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