Hopkins Marine Station Student Paper

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(full paper is archived in the Miller Library)

Title: Morphology and distribution of Pelvetia compressa at three sites along a wave exposure gradient on the Monterey Peninsula
Student Author(s): Lin, Rhoda H.
Faculty Advisor(s): Watanabe, James
Pages: 35
Location: Final Papers Biology 175H
Date: June 1996
Abstract: Wave exposure is a complex set of biotic and abiotic factors, including variations in physical force, light, temperature, and nutrient levels. This study examines the distribution and morphology of an intertidal rockweed, Pelvetia compressa (Fucales, Phaeophyta) at three sites along a wave exposure gradient on the Monterey Peninsula, California, US.A. Percent cover and vertical ranges were similar between the most exposed and intermediately exposed sites and much greater than at the most protected site. A discriminant function analysis of morphological data shows that the three populations may be objectively classified into three groups based on morphology. After a discriminant function analysis, it is possible to accurately predict the site of origination for most of the thalli examined. Patterns between the morphological data from the extremes of wave exposure suggest that plants at the most exposed location tend to break at lower internodes, producing a "leggy" and pruned morphology compared to those at the protected site. This pruning may serve to lower drag forces and hence be an adaptation to heavy wave exposure. It is unclear from the data what factors are responsible for patterns seen at the intermediate exposure site; differences in age structure or other demographic factors may plan an important role.
Notes: Published in Journal of Phycology 1996 32(3 Suppl.):28-29.