Crustose coralline algae were the prevalent cover among sessile organisms that paved or grew near the substratum, and also the most commonly overgrown species in a giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera (L.) C.A. Agardh forest located off San Nicolas Island, California. Giant kelp was the largest and most conspicuous species that overgrew large patches of the substrata; overgrowth among turf organisms also appeared common. To determine the effects of giant kelp holdfasts on crustose coralline algae and other turf organisms,'artificial holdfasts' were placed on 0.125-m2 plots for 5, 8 and 12 months. In these treatments, 50?57% of the crustose coralline algae survived. Because these algae also recruited while covered, the total cover (survivorship plus recruitment) differed by only 7?26% from that sampled at the start of the study. The decline of these algae in control plots was similar to that in the treatment plots mostly because of overgrowth by sessile invertebrates. Bryozoans increased markedly on the control plots, whereas 0?12% survived in the treatment plots. Bryozoans and sponges also recruited under the artificial holdfasts. Some arborescent turf algae survived in the 5- and 8-month treatments; articulated coralline algae survived better than did foliose algae. High survival recruitment of crustose coralline algae while overgrown contributed to their prevalence in benthic communities.
Additional Publication Details
Effects of experimental overgrowth on survival and change in the turf assemblage of a giant kelp forest
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology