Jackson Estuarine Laboratory

An ecological study of Fucus spiralis L


An ecological study of Fucus spiralis L. has been made at Jaffrey Point, Newcastle, New Hampshire and the adjacent Great Bay Estuary System from 1972–1975. The distribution, growth, reproductive periodicity, attrition and longevity of the plants are described in relation to a variety of environmental factors. F. spiralis shows a broad but discontinuous estuarine distribution within the Great Bay Estuary System. The presence or absence of appropriate substrata is considered to be a factor determining its discontinuous distribution, since it is usually associated with metasedimentary or metavolcanic rock outcrops. The maximum growth and reproduction of F. spiralis are during the summer. The summer growth rates ranged from 1.9 to 2.8 cm/month while the average growth rate throughout the year was 1.2 cm/month.

F. spiralis populations showed two periods of major attrition, namely, during the winter and summer. The average longevity of F. spiralis plants is ≈ 2 yr. The F. spiralis zone lies in the uppermost intertidal area between +2.12 and +2.31 m above M.L.W. There is a micro-stratification of biomass, stature, and reproductive activity within this zone. Average plant weight, length, and fertility tend to decrease with increasing elevation.

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Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology



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