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Type: Journal article
Title: Nutrients increase epiphyte loads: broad-scale observations and an experimental assessment
Author: Russell, B.
Elsdon, T.
Gillanders, B.
Connell, S.
Citation: Marine Biology, 2005; 147(2):551-558
Publisher: Springer
Issue Date: 2005
ISSN: 0025-3162
Statement of
Bayden D. Russell, Travis S. Elsdon Bronwyn M. Gillanders and Sean D. Connell
Abstract: There is a global trend towards elevated nutrients in coastal waters, especially on human-dominated coasts. We assessed local- to regional-scale relationships between the abundance of epiphytic algae on kelp ( Ecklonia radiata) and nutrient concentrations across much of the temperate coast of Australia, thus assessing the spatial scales over which nutrients may affect benthic assemblages. We tested the hypotheses that (1) percentage cover of epiphytic algae would be greater in areas with higher water nutrient concentrations, and (2) that an experimental enhancement of nutrient concentrations on an oligotrophic coast, to match more eutrophic coasts, would cause an increase in percentage cover of epiphytic algae to match those in more nutrient rich waters. Percentage cover of epiphytes was most extensive around the coast of Sydney, the study location with the greatest concentration of coastal chlorophyll a (a proxy for water nutrient concentration). Elevation of nitrate concentrations at a South Australian location caused an increase in percentage cover of epiphytes that was comparable to percentage covers observed around Sydney’s coastline. This result was achieved despite our inability to match nutrient concentrations observed around Sydney (<5% of Sydney concentrations), suggesting that increases to nutrient concentrations may have disproportionately larger effects in oligotrophic waters.
Description: The original publication can be found at
Rights: © Springer-Verlag 2005
RMID: 0020050436
DOI: 10.1007/s00227-005-1571-3
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications
Environment Institute Leaders publications
Environment Institute publications

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