An analysis of subtidal seaweed communities on a depth gradient at Sodwana Bay, on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, South Africa

 

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dc.contributor.advisor Bolton, John J en_ZA
dc.contributor.advisor Anderson, Robert J en_ZA
dc.contributor.author McKune, Craig en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2017-10-30T06:49:40Z
dc.date.available 2017-10-30T06:49:40Z
dc.date.issued 2002 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation McKune, C. 2002. An analysis of subtidal seaweed communities on a depth gradient at Sodwana Bay, on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, South Africa. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/25879
dc.description.abstract The subtidal seaweed communities of the KwaZulu-Natal coast are poorly understood. A recent collaborative research project between Belgian and South African phycologists, however, is currently investigating the diversity and biogeographical affinities of the marine benthic algal flora of this region. The newest leg of the project is focusing on correlating biogeographic patterns with abiotic factors in the area between the St. Lucia estuary and Sodwana Bay, where it has become evident that there is a huge turnover in species composition. The present study examines seaweed community change along a depth gradient (1-30 m depth) at Sodwana Bay on the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) coast, South Africa. All seaweed cover within 25 x 25 cm quadrats was collected, identified and weighed. The environmental variables, depth and % sand cover, were also measured. Both biomass and presence/absence data were ordinated to show community differentiation related to the environmental variables. The seaweed communities are largely red turfs, with a total of 82 Rhodophyte, 14 Chlorophyte, and 8 Phaeophyte taxa recorded. These turf communities showed exceptional diversity with 105 taxa (>25 % of recorded KZN flora) occurring in the total sample area of 1.56m². Seaweed communities clearly change with depth, but the biggest change occurs between the shallow subtidal zone (approx 1 m depth) and deeper waters (>5 m depth), mostly likely due to the effects of wave action; thereafter communities do change with depth, but the effects are less pronounced. Biomass (p=0.049, significant) and seaweed diversity (p=0.078, not significant) were both shown to decrease, and % bare (seaweed-free) cover (p=0.002, significant) increased, with increasing depth. It is likely that these changes with increased depth can be attributed to the effects of increased light attenuation on ecological functioning in the subtidal communities. Sand inundation patterns are shown to be important in determining seaweed community structure, but do not appear to be predictable along a depth gradient (p=0.544, not significant). en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.subject.other Biological Conservation en_ZA
dc.subject.other Marine Biology en_ZA
dc.title An analysis of subtidal seaweed communities on a depth gradient at Sodwana Bay, on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, South Africa en_ZA
dc.type Thesis / Dissertation en_ZA
dc.date.updated 2017-03-17T08:50:56Z
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Science en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of Biological Sciences en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Honours en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationname BSc (Hons) en_ZA
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