The appearance of the marine alga Bangia atropurpurea (Rhodophyta) in Lake Erie has been followed by its rapid dispersal throughout the eulittoral zone of the lake. Bangia was extensively sampled to determine its suitability as a habitat for littoral organisms. Present data indicate that the only organisms capable of maintaining populations on Bangia filaments are larval Chironomidae. Cladophora supports a larger and more diverse community. It is concluded that the mucilaginous cell wall of Bangia provides a less stable substrate for attached or clinging organisms than does the cellulose cell wall of Cladophora. The presence of Bangia in the littoral zone of Lake Erie results in a reduction of the quantity and diversity of algal epiphytes and may negatively impact the littoral food web.
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Invertebrate communities associated with Bangia atropurpurea and Cladophora glomerata in western Lake Erie