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Journal of Marine Biology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 690375, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/690375
Research Article

Seasonal Patterns of Sporophyte Growth, Fertility, Fouling, and Mortality of Saccharina latissima in Skagerrak, Norway: Implications for Forest Recovery

1Department of Biology, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1066, Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway
2Flødevigen Research Station, Institute of Marine Research, Nye Flødevigveien 20, 4817 His, Norway
3Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Gaustadalléen 21, 0349 Oslo, Norway

Received 15 December 2010; Revised 17 June 2011; Accepted 10 July 2011

Academic Editor: Andrew McMinn

Copyright © 2011 Guri Sogn Andersen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

On the Skagerrak coast the kelp Saccharina latissima has suffered severe stand reductions over the last decade, resulting in loss of important habitats. In the present study, healthy kelp plants were transplanted into four deforested areas and their patterns of growth, reproduction, and survival were monitored through subsequent seasons. Our main objective was to establish whether the kelp plants were able to grow and mature in deforested areas. We observed normal patterns of growth and maturation at all study sites. However, heavy fouling by epiphytes occurred each summer, followed by high kelp mortality. The study shows that the seasonal variations and the life stage timing of S. latissima make formation of self-sustainable populations impossible in the present environment. Most noteworthy, we suggest that fouling by epiphytes is involved in the lack of kelp forest recovery in Skagerrak, Norway.