Marine Biology

, Volume 144, Issue 5, pp 1019–1027 | Cite as

The effects of light and thallus scour from Ecklonia radiata canopy on an associated foliose algal assemblage: the importance of photoacclimation

  • Benjamin TooheyEmail author
  • Gary A. Kendrick
  • Thomas Wernberg
  • Julia C. Phillips
  • Sairah Malkin
  • Jane Prince
Research Article


Kelp canopies have long been recognised for their influence on the structure of algal assemblages on sublittoral reefs. In Marmion Lagoon, Western Australia, we investigated how a canopy of the small kelp Ecklonia radiata affected the associated foliose algal assemblage and what potential mechanisms were responsible for the effects we observed. Light levels and physical abrasion (thallus scour) by an E. radiata canopy were manipulated in an orthogonal fixed-factor experiment that revealed that changes in light, but not thallus scour, had a significant effect on the composition of the algal assemblage. Reduced light levels were associated with a decrease in the Shannon-Wiener diversity index and an increased dominance of the foliose algae Pterocladia lucida and Rhodymenia sonderi. Photobiological investigations of three foliose species, P. lucida, R. sonderi and Chauviniella coriifolia indicated that they were able to photoacclimate to low light levels by increasing thallus absorption by up to 11%. Photoacclimation was also evident by an increase in the maximum rate of electron transport under low-light conditions. We conclude that the E. radiata canopy in Marmion Lagoon structures the foliose algal assemblage through the modification of the light environment and that this effect may be mediated by differences in the ability of different species of foliose algae to photoacclimate.


Kelp Forest Algal Assemblage Pulse Amplitude Modulate Light Climate Canopy Shading 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



For their assistance, we thank A. Smit, M. Vanderklift, D. Gull, N. Harman, S. Whalan, F. Tomàs Nash and M. Kleczkowski. We also thank two anonymous reviewers whose comments greatly improved our manuscript. Financial support was provided through a small Australian Research Council grant to G. Kendrick and a BSc (Honours) grant to B. Toohey from the Schools of Plant and Animal Biology, University of Western Australia. We declare that the experiments described in this manuscript comply with the current laws of Australia.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin Toohey
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gary A. Kendrick
    • 1
  • Thomas Wernberg
    • 1
  • Julia C. Phillips
    • 2
  • Sairah Malkin
    • 1
  • Jane Prince
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Plant BiologyUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.CSIRO Marine ResearchWembleyAustralia
  3. 3.School of Animal BiologyUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

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