, Volume 85, Issue 4, pp 572–580

Community interactions between the filamentous alga Cladophora glomerata (L.) Kuetzing, its epiphytes, and epiphyte grazers

  • Walter K. Dodds
Original Papers

DOI: 10.1007/BF00323770

Cite this article as:
Dodds, W.K. Oecologia (1991) 85: 572. doi:10.1007/BF00323770


Interactions between epiphytes, epiphyte grazers and the filamentous green alga Cladophora glomerata (L.) Kuetzing were explored with smaples from rivers in Montana. Extracts of C. glomerata lowered photosynthetic rates of Nitzschia fonticola Grunow (an epiphytic diatom). Nutrient enrichment showed that C. glomerata from the Madison River was N deficient and its epiphytes were P deficient on 2 dates and N deficient on one date, while no nutrient deficiencies were detected in samples from 3 other rivers; this implies there was little nutrient competition between the epiphytes and C. glomerata. Epiphytes lowered drag on C. glomerata tufts and current velocity inside the tufts, apparently by decreasing the effective surface area. Lower drag may decrease detachment, but lowering current velocity from 8 to 0 cm s-1 resulted in a 100 % decrease in photosynthesis. Light absorption by epiphyte pigments may lower photosynthetic rate of C. glomerata when irradiance is below 200–500 μE m-2 s-1, and protect against photoinhibition above this irradiance range. Invertebrate grazers (predominantly Baetis tricaudatus Dodds, Trycorythodes minutus Traver and Brachycentrus occidentalis Banks) at high densities removed 75% of epiphytes and B. occidentalis grazed on C. glomerata. Invertebrates regenerated a mean of 0.16 μmol NHinf4sup+individual-1 d-1 which could have enhanced growth of downstream C. glomerata. Competition and grazing were not the only interactions in the C. glomerata community, positive (mutualistic) interactions were also important.

Key words


Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walter K. Dodds
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyMontana State UniversityBozemanUSA
  2. 2.Division of BiologyKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA