An investigation of the relationship between sediment particles size and the development of green algal mats (Ulva prolifera) on the intertidal flats of Muan, Korea
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The relationship between median grain size of sediments and the abundance in the wild of green algal mats (Ulva prolifera) on the intertidal flats of Muan, Korea, were investigated. The impact of substratum particle size on the growth and survival of germlings was examined in the laboratory. In the wild, the average annual density of algal mats was 7,950 ind m−2. The algal mats mainly occurred in sands and exhibited patchy distribution. Statistical analysis indicates significant spatial analysis differences and a significant relationship between density and the ratio of sands to silts, suggesting that the distribution and density of this species were related to particle size. In laboratory experiments, the survival rate of U. prolifera germlings was the lowest value (22%) on sediments with a median grain size of 63–125 μm. Laboratory experiments have generally shown a positive relationship between attachment or survival of the alga and substratum particles size. Our laboratory results indicate a clear link between germling settlement/survival and substratum particle size. These results explain the spatial differences in abundance observed in the field in relation to the distribution and ratio of sands to silt on the Muan flats.
KeywordsUlva prolifera Green algal mats Distribution Sediment Particle size
We are grateful to Professor J.H. Chang (Mokpo National University, Korea) for analyzing particle size and Dr. Philip Heath (NIWA, New Zealand) for reviewing the English. This work was supported by NFRDI (RP-2010-AQ-014) and a grant from Priority Research Centers Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2009-0093828).
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