Floating Seaweeds and Their Communities

  • Eva Rothäusler
  • Lars Gutow
  • Martin Thiel
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 219)


A wide diversity of floating seaweeds is found in temperate and subpolar regions of the world’s oceans where sea surface currents and winds determine their traveling velocities and directions. The importance of floating seaweeds as dispersal agents for associated organisms and for the algae themselves varies depending on the supply from benthic source populations and on their persistence at the sea surface. Persistence of floating algae depends on water temperature, grazing activity, epifaunal load, and, to a lesser extent, on prevailing irradiance conditions. In temperate regions, persistence of floating algae is primarily limited by warm sea surface temperatures and high densities of motile and sessile epifauna whereas at higher latitudes algae can successfully compensate grazer-induced tissue loss by continuous growth at the prevailing low water temperatures. Accordingly, floating seaweeds can bridge large oceanic distances especially at high latitudes allowing for connectivity among distant benthic populations of algae and associated rafters.


High Water Temperature Population Connectivity Floating Population Subpolar Region Peracarid Crustacean 
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.



ER and MT were supported through FONDECYT 1100749 during the preparation of this contribution. ER is grateful for a JSPS Research Fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science for providing financial support.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universidad Católica del NorteCoquimboChile
  2. 2.Atmosphere and Ocean Research InstituteUniversity of TokyoKashiwa-shiJapan
  3. 3.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany
  4. 4.Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Áridas (CEAZA)CoquimboChile

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