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Spatial patterns of macroalgal abundance in relation to eutrophication
Krause-Jensen, D.; Middelboe, A.L.; Cartensen, J.; Dahl, K. (2007). Spatial patterns of macroalgal abundance in relation to eutrophication. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 152(1): 25-36.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Krause-Jensen, D.
  • Middelboe, A.L.
  • Cartensen, J.
  • Dahl, K.

    Based on a large monitoring data set from Danish coastal waters we tested the hypotheses: (1) The vertical pattern of algal abundance is regulated by exposure in shallow water and by light limitation towards deeper water, resulting in a bell-shaped abundance curve, with peak abundance located deeper at more exposed sites, (2) in deeper water, total algal abundance and abundance of perennial algae decrease along a eutrophication gradient while (3) abundance and relative abundance of opportunists increase. The vertical pattern of algal abundance showed a peak at intermediate water depths which was located deeper in more exposed areas and thus confirmed our first hypothesis. For algae growing from depths of peak abundance and deeper, the study demonstrated that total algal abundance and abundance of perennials and opportunists at given depths decreased significantly along a eutrophication gradient and the relationships had high explanatory power (R 2 = 0.53–0.73). These results confirmed our second hypothesis. By contrast, the relative abundance of opportunists responded solely to salinity and was largest in the most brackish areas, in contradiction to hypothesis three. The lack of coupling between eutrophication and relative abundance of opportunists arises because both opportunists and the entire algal community were light limited and their ratio therefore relatively insensitive to changing water clarity. The analyses indicated that algal abundance initially responded slowly to increasing eutrophication but showed a more marked response at TN concentrations of 35–40 µM. However, the existence of possible threshold nutrient levels demands further analyses.

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