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Fucus vesiculosus adapted to a life in the Baltic Sea: impacts on recruitment, growth, re-establishment and restoration

Kautsky, Lena, Qvarfordt, Susanne, Schagerström, Ellen
Botanica marina 2019 v.62 no.1 pp. 17-30
Fucus vesiculosus, Hildenbrandia, algae, coasts, epiphytes, field experimentation, grazing, juveniles, pollution load, rocks, runoff, salinity, Baltic Sea
Fucus vesiculosus is common both on the tidal coasts of the North Atlantic and in the Baltic Sea, where it has adapted to low salinity and nontidal conditions over the last 7000 years. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, extensive declines of F. vesiculosus populations were reported in the Baltic Proper, mainly attributed to high nutrient loads. During the past 30–40 years, considerable efforts have been made to reduce nutrient runoff to coastal areas but few successful initiatives to restore F. vesiculosus populations have been performed. In this paper, we present how substratum manipulation, i.e. clean rocky surfaces, brushing rocks, Hildenbrandia rubra cover and different filamentous algae, as well as different algal exudates, affect the recruitment and survival of juvenile F. vesiculosus. Further, we show through a 5-year field experiment that it will take at least 4–5 years to reach reproductive age for F. vesiculosus in the Baltic Sea. We also present transplantation studies from two different areas, showing that epiphytic load, light, grazing and type of substratum are some of the factors that need to be taken into consideration in order to achieve successful restoration of F. vesiculosus.