Abstract for F053

Benthic Macroalgae Saltwater Vegetation
Végétation d'eau salée composée de macroalgues benthiques

Benthic Macroalgae Saltwater Vegetation includes subtidal or intertidal bottoms and any other areas characterized by a dominant cover of attached macroalgae, which are usually submersed within or extend to the surface of the water column. They may be exposed during low tides. The aquatic beds dominated by macroalgae include kelp, intertidal fucoids, and calcareous algae. Macroalgal communities can exist at all depths within the photic zone, on diverse substrates, and across a range of energy and water chemistry regimes. Many macroalgal types and communities have low temporal persistence and can bloom and die-back within short periods. This aspect of macroalgae can be reflected with a temporal persistence modifier.

While many researchers organize macroalgae based on their pigmentation, the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS) takes a growth morphology approach to defining benthic algal biotic groups. This decision was driven by the fact that macroalgal assemblages often include a variety of co-existing algal species, making delineations of individual species difficult. This approach also captures the influence that the algal growth structure has in shaping the local environment, by providing shelter, shade, and detrital material to an area, which is important to associated fauna. Thus CMECS distinguishes sheet group, filamentous group, coarsely branched group, thick leathery group, jointed calcareous group, and crustose group.

Source: Faber-Langendoen, D., T. Keeler-Wolf, D. Meidinger, C. Josse, A. Weakley, D. Tart, G. Navarro, B. Hoagland, S. Ponomarenko, J.-P. Saucier, G. Fults, E. Helmer. 2014. Classification and description of world formation types. Part I (Introduction) and Part II (Description of world formations). Hierarchy Revisions Working Group, Federal Geographic Data Committee, FGDC Secretariat, U.S. Geological Survey. Reston, VA, and NatureServe, Arlington, VA.

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