Fox, Sophia E., Teichberg, Mirta ORCID:, Valiela, Ivan and Heffner, Leanna (2012) The Relative Role of Nutrients, Grazing, and Predation as Controls on Macroalgal Growth in the Waquoit Bay Estuarine System. Estuaries and Coasts, 35 (5). pp. 1193-1204. DOI

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Understanding whether nutrient availability and grazing by consumers can control macroalgal growth is important to mitigate blooms. To assess the effect of long-term nitrogen loading on macroalgae, we ran a field experiment in which we measured growth of green and red macroalgae in estuaries where loads and eutrophication status differed. The relative abundances of consumers differed among estuaries with more grazers in non-eutrophied estuaries, an important interaction of bottom-up and top-down controls. In the estuary with the lowest nitrogen load, grazers controlled green macroalgal growth, but in higher nitrogen-loaded estuaries, where grazing was lower, growth of green macroalgae overwhelmed potential grazer control. The red macroalga was not controlled by grazers, even in the estuary where grazing pressure was highest. In the low-loaded estuary, invertebrate predators exerted top-down control over grazers, but predation effects did not cascade to macroalgae. Bottom-up mechanisms dominated control of macroalgae through an interaction of direct stimulation of growth and indirect alteration of consumer abundances, and thus, long-term nutrient regimes are likely determining potential for bloom formation in Waquoit Bay.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Ecology > Algae and Seagrass Ecology
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
ISSN: 1559-2723
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2019 14:34
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2024 13:29

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