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Importance of Fucus vesiculosus (bladderwrack) for coastal fish communities in the Baltic Sea
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 80 credits / 120 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Within temperate coastal seascapes, macroalgae provide habitats for different organisms such as invertebrates and fish. In analogy to seagrass meadows, macroalgae beds are known for their importance as fish nurseries. However, within the Baltic Sea the importance of the canopy forming macroalgae Fucus vesiculosus for coastal fish communities, especially the juveniles, is unclear. In order to address this knowledge gap, fish communities in areas with and without F. vesiculosus were investigated around Askö, an island in the archipelago of the Baltic Sea. Sites were subjected to different exposures (sheltered, exposed or very exposed) and three different methods were used for sampling (underwater visual census (UVCs), beach seine netting and remote underwater videos (RUVs)). Overall, fish community composition differed significantly among locations and fish abundance and fish biomass were significantly higher in sites with F. vesiculosus than sites without. There was no significant relationship between algae cover or habitat complexity and fish abundance/biomass in sites with F. vesiculosus. Fish behaviour differed between sites with and without F. vesiculosus, with fish feeding more in sites with F. vesiculosus and traveling more in sites without F. vesiculosus. Only one location, Knabberskär, had significantly higher species richness in F. vesiculosus than in sites without F. vesiculosus. There were no differences in juvenile abundance among sites with or without F. vesiculosus and abundance of adult fish was higher than juvenile fish, regardless of location, site or species. Mean invertebrate abundance was a twice as high in the sheltered location Husbåtsviken than in Knabberskär. Higher fish abundance, fish biomass and species richness in sites with F. vesiculosus compared to sites without, suggest that macroalgae may play an important role in the Baltic Sea, however it might not be as important for juvenile fishes as predicted. The three different sampling methods provided similar results for fish abundance, but not for fish biomass. Continued studies where the relationship between fish communities and aspects of F. vesiculosus structure (such as canopy height) as well as linkage with other habitats is recommended for further understanding and better protection of F. vesiculosus habitats.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Baltic Sea, Fucus vesiculosus, fish communities, fish nurseries, climate change
National Category
Other Biological Topics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-176300OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-176300DiVA, id: diva2:1374065
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Available from: 2019-12-02 Created: 2019-11-28 Last updated: 2019-12-02Bibliographically approved

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