Effects of an epiphytic alga on abundances of fish and decapods associated with the seagrass Zostera capricorni

Johann D. Bell, Mark Westoby*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

During a field experiment to test effects of changes to leaf height and density of Zostera capricorni on associated fish and decapods, more than one‐third of the substratum at some sites was covered by the epiphytic brown alga Giffordia mitchelliae. This paper reports apparent effects of the alga on the 13 most abundant species of fish and decapods, and interactions between effects of the alga and those due to height and density of the seagrass leaves. Abundances of three species were significantly lower, and those of two species were significantly greater where the alga occurred. There were interactions between effects of the alga and those of leaf height and/or density for another four species. In all four cases, when the alga had an effect, it was to decrease abundance. The effects of Giffordia were generally opposite to those reported for drift algae in seagrass habitats elsewhere. The lower abundances of seven species where algal cover was great are best explained by an existing model for seagrass habitats that predicts reductions in abundance of individuals when the ratio of plant material to substratum is very high.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-337
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Journal of Ecology
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1987

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