Investigations of the marine algae of nova scotia canada xvii. vertical and geographic distribution of marine algae on rocky shores of the maritime provinces

Novaczek, I.; Mclachlan, J.

Proceedings of the Nova Scotian Institute of Science 38(3-4): 91-144

1988


Accession: 007486488

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Abstract
A review is given of the physical features of three coastal environments of eastern Canada: the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the open Atlantic coast, and the Bay of Fundy. Intertidal and sublittoral regions of these environments were surveyed. Vertical limits of common macrophytic algae and their relative abundances were documented and a species list compiled for sectors of each coastal environment. Differences among the three coastal environments in terms of species composition and vertical distributions could be related to differeces in ice scour, tidal amplitude, wave exposure, intertidal slope, water temperature and geology. Sites on the outer Atlantic coast generally showed patterns of zonation corresponding with the typical pattern for the North Atlantic Ocean, whereas both Fundy and Gulf shores deviated from this pattern. The vegetation belts dominated by fucoids, red turf algae and kelp were found at progressively lower intertidal or sublittoral levels moving from the Bay of Fundy to the Atlantic and from Atlantic to Gulf shores. The changing pattern from the Fundy to Atlantic shores was correlated mainly with changing tidal amplitudes and intertidal slopes. The difference between Atlantic and Gulf shores was primarily owing to the effects of ice scour. Certain species found subtittorally in other areas occurred intertidally in the Bay of Fundy. For some species, variation in physical factors accounted for a high proportion of the variability in vertical limits. Whether this is the result of direct effects of physical factors or a consequence of changing biotic interactions requires experimental analysis. Nutrient enrichment of southwest Atlantic shores may have produced a slight increase in species diversity of this environment. Differences in the temperature regimes of the three coastal environments were clearly reflected in species compositions. Some cold-temperate to Arctic species were absent from the warmest environment, the Gulf, while certain warm-temperate species were restricted to Gulf waters.