Distribution and maximum growth depth of Fucus vesiculosus along the Gulf of Finland
A survey of the distribution and maximum depth of a continuous Fucus vesiculosus belt was carried out in the Gulf of Finland in 1991. F. vesiculosus is widely distributed throughout the Gulf of Finland, including the vicinity of Vyborg Bay, Russia in the east. The maximum growth depth of F. vesiculosus in the Gulf of Finland reflects two different patterns according to the exposure to wave action. The most robust and continuous F. vesiculosus belt is observed on exposed shores, where the maximum growth depth is 5 to 6 m, with the optimum at 2 to 3 m. On moderately exposed shores the maximum growth depth is 3 m, with an optimum growth depth of <2 m. The maximum growth depth also varies geographically, with a decreasing trend towards the east. Maximum growth depth of F. vesiculosus correlates with light intensity. The compensation point for F. vesiculosus photosynthesis is about 25 μmol m−2 s−1, and photosynthesis is saturated at a light intensity of 300 μmol m−2 s−1. Vertical irradiance attenuation measurements in situ in summer revealed that for F. vesiculosus photosynthesis the quantity of light is optimal (200 to 300 μmol m−2 s−1) at <3 m depth. At depths >5 m the quantity of light is near or below the photosynthesis compensation point and insufficient for growth. These depth limits of light penetration coincide with measured growth depths of F. vesiculosus in the Gulf of Finland.
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