Marine Biology

, 165:83 | Cite as

Long-term study on seasonal changes in floristic composition and structure of marine macroalgal communities along the coast of Northern Taiwan, southern East China Sea

  • Showe-Mei Lin
  • Li-Chun Tseng
  • Put O. AngJr.
  • John Bolton
  • Li-Chia Liu
Original paper


This study presents a long-term study (9 years) on seasonal changes in the marine macroalgal flora of Northern Taiwan in the southern East China Sea, from 2007 to 2015. Both spatial and temporal variations in the marine flora at six sites in the intertidal and subtidal zones were investigated. A total of 178 macroalgal species belonging to 4 phyla, 6 classes, 26 orders, 50 families, and 108 genera, were identified. The top five most abundant species were Ulva lactuca [Mean ± SD coverage (MC): 5.75 ± 9.44%], Pterocladiella capillacea (4.7 ± 4.76%), Marginisporum aberrans (2.49 ± 3.04%), Gelidium elegans (2.46 ± 4.05%), and Chondracanthus intermedius (1.58 ± 2.85%), accounting for 16.9% of the total macroalgal coverage. Non-metric multidimensional scaling analysis of all data revealed that the macroalgal assemblages fluctuated seasonally, with proportions of dominant species in the two habitats showing seasonal succession that was influenced by interplay of waters of the China Coastal Current from the west and the Kuroshio Current from the east. The physical differences of water depth and substrate in the intertidal and subtidal sites appeared to be an influential factor affecting the macroalgal composition. Cluster and index of seaweed importance analyses revealed the relative importance of certain species based on coverage and occurrence frequencies without requirements of other time-consuming measurements. Statistical analyses indicated significant variations in macroalgal assemblages among different sampling months. The macroalgal coverage and species richness have noticeably decreased during 2014–2015. Whether or not this phenomenon is a consequence of increasing seawater temperature needs further investigation.



The authors thank the members, Chang Y-H, Chiou Y-S, and Wang Y-C, in Lin S-M’s laboratory for their assistance with seaweed collecting and sorting. The authors specifically thank the Department of Atmospheric Science, National Taiwan University for providing the weather information from the data bank for atmospheric research.


The study was financially supported mainly by long-term research grants funded by Taiwan’s Ministry of Science and Technology (NSC 102-2621-B-019 -001, MOST 103-2621-B-019-001 & MOST 104-2621-B-019-001, etc.…) and partially by the Haiken Algal Research Foundation (no. 104G32401) to Lin S-M as well as well as by a grant (MOST 105-2811-M-019-008 and MOST 106-2811-M-019-004) to Tseng L-C.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing financial interests or conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

227_2018_3344_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (177 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 176 kb)
227_2018_3344_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (142 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 141 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Marine BiologyNational Taiwan Ocean UniversityKeelungTaiwan, ROC
  2. 2.Simon F.S. Li Marine Science Laboratory, School of Life SciencesThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  3. 3.Biological Sciences Department and Marine Research InstituteUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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