, Volume 503, Issue 1, pp 77–91

Short-term dispersal of kelp fauna to cleared (kelp-harvested) areas


  • Elisabeth Waage-Nielsen
    • Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
  • Hartvig Christie
    • Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
  • Eli Rinde
    • Norwegian Institute for Nature Research

DOI: 10.1023/B:HYDR.0000008490.51745.a9

Cite this article as:
Waage-Nielsen, E., Christie, H. & Rinde, E. Hydrobiologia (2003) 503: 77. doi:10.1023/B:HYDR.0000008490.51745.a9


The kelp Laminaria hyperborea forms large forests and houses a numerous and diverse fauna, especially in the kelp holdfast and stipe epiphytes. Kelp harvesting creates cleared areas and fragmentizes the kelp forest. We investigated the dispersal ability of kelp fauna to cleared, harvested areas by studying their colonization pattern to artificial substrata (kelp mimics) exposed for a short (3 days) and longer time period (35 days) at different sites within the kelp forest (one site) and at a cleared area (two sites). Most of the kelp fauna (111 species) showed a rapid dispersal and colonized the artificial substrata within the cleared area. The similarity of the faunal community in the mimics with the natural kelp holdfast community increased with the length of the exposure period. During the experiments, 87% of the mobile species in the kelp plants were found in the kelp mimics, indicating good dispersal for slow-moving animals like gastropods, polychaetes and tube-building crustaceans. Relating the frequency of the different faunal groups in the untrawled kelp forest to their frequency in the kelp mimics, showed gastropods, amphipods and decapods to have relatively high dispersal rates, whereas isopods, bivalves, polychaetes and tanaids showed a lower dispersal rate than expected. Amphipods dispersed as juveniles and adults. No significant differences were found between the faunal composition and number of species in the mimics placed inside the kelp forest and in the cleared area. Remaining holdfasts and pebbles were identified as refuges/alternative habitats in the harvested area, and may together with the nearest kelp vegetation, serve as sources for colonization to new substrata. The high dispersal ability of most of the kelp fauna provides maintenance of the faunal composition of disturbed habitats and ensures colonization of recovering algal habitats regardless of reproduction strategy.

artificial substratumdispersalinvertebrateskelp trawlingrecovery

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003