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In situ water motion and nutrient uptake by the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera

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Rates of NO -3 uptake by individual blades of Macrocystis pyrifera (L.) C. Agardh were measured at different flow rates in the laboratory. Dissolution rates of hemispherical, plaster buttons attached to the blade surface provided a relative measure of flow rates over blades used in uptake experiments and also over intact blades of adult kelp plants in situ (Laguna Beach, California, USA; 1981). Laboratory results indicated that uptake was saturated at a flow rate equivalent to 2.5 cm s-1 current velocity. Flow rates over intact blades in situ always exceeded this uptake saturation level. Wave surge and movement of plant surfaces relative to the surrounding water provided sufficient flow to saturate uptake, even in a dense kelp canopy during low-current and calm sea-state conditions.

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Communicated by N. D. Holland, La Jolla

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Gerard, V.A. In situ water motion and nutrient uptake by the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera . Mar. Biol. 69, 51–54 (1982).

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