Animal diversity in Baltic rocky shore macroalgae: can Cladophora glomerata compensate for lost Fucus vesiculosus?

Patrik Kraufvelin, Sonja Salovius-Lauren

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The substitution of canopy-forming perennial algae by annual filamentous algae is a common phenomenon on eutrophicated rocky shores with potential consequences for marine biodiversity. In the upper littoral of the northern Baltic Sea, this process is exemplified by decreased occurrence of the brown alga Fucus vesiculosus and increased amounts of filamentous algae (e.g. Cladophora glomerata and Pilayella littoralis). In this study, macrofauna communities of F. vesiculosus and C. glomerata during summer have been compared and the effects on littoral macroinvertebrates of a total or partial replacement of F. vesiculosus by C. glomerata have been estimated. The animal abundance and biomass were higher in C. glomerata than in corresponding amounts of F. vesiculosus (g dwt). Similar results were also obtained when animal abundance and biomass were extrapolated to algal cover per m(2) rocky substrate in the study area. Margalefs species richness was, on the other hand, higher in F. vesiculosus, whereas the Shannon-Wiener diversity was the same. The results indicate that C. glomerata maintains a high diversity of macroinvertebrates in the upper littoral zone of the northern Baltic Sea during summer. A possible substitution of F. vesiculosus by C. glomerata does not immediately affect macroinvertebrate diversity negatively in the littoral zone, although, it is difficult to assess the full consequences due to lack of comparable algal data at wider temporal and spatial scales. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)369–378
Number of pages10
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2004
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Baltic Sea
  • biodiversity loss
  • canopy algae
  • coastal eutrophication
  • filamentous green algae
  • macrofauna

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