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Seaweed On The Sandy Beaches Of The Outer Hebrides -  An Important Food Source For Coastal Fauna [Kyla Orr]
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Seaweed On The Sandy Beaches Of The Outer Hebrides - An Important Food Source For Coastal Fauna [Kyla Orr]

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  • 1. Seaweed on the sandy beaches of the Outer Hebrides: An important food source for coastal fauna Kyla Orr (PhD student) Supervisors: Sheila Heymans, Tom Wilding and David Hughes Scottish Association for Marine ScienceCoordination Centre: Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban, Scotland T: +44 (0)1631 559000 F: +44 (0)1631 559001 E: biomara@sams.ac.uk W: www.biomara.org Project supported by the INTERREG IVA Programme Managed by SEUPB
  • 2. Introduction: Macroalgae for Biofuel • Marine biomass suggested as alternative energy source to terrestrial biomass due to its greater productivity and large surface area available for growth • Wild macroalgae productivity is ~2.8 times higher than that for sugarcane; cultured macroalgae ~ 6.5 times more productive than sugarcane (Gao and McKinley, 1994). (1) Harvesting of attached macroalgae Laminaria spp. Vs Ascophyllum nodosum (2) Growth of macroalgae on long-lines (3) Collection of storm-cast kelp Three possible sources of macroalgae for Biofuel: Ecological role and impacts of removal ?
  • 3. Study Area North Uist Benbecula South Uist Uists, Outer Hebrides - west coast dominated by soft shores and shallow offshore reefs populated with kelp Large casts of seaweed after gales Long history of seaweed collection from shores
  • 4. Macroalgae subsidies and coastal communities Detached seaweed Birds Epifauna (seeking shelter) BacteriaPOC Suspension & deposit feeders Fishes Crabs Carnivorous invertebrates Invertebrate detritivores Kelp Beach-cast seaweed Floating seaweed
  • 5. Shorebirds and beach-cast seaweed y = 0.0055x + 0.0058 R 2 = 0.9107 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 0 50 100 150 Total Number shorebirds meanseaweedcover(m2/m2beach) Normality Test: Kolmogorov-Smirnov test passed (P = 0.8558) Constant Variance Test: Passed (P = 0.0931) Slope significantly different from zero (p<0.0001) Dunlin Sanderling Turnstone Ringed plover Gull, Larus sp. Pied wagtail Starling Oystercatcher
  • 6. 76% 20% 4% 0% On seaweed On sand On Rocks Atwater line 99% 0%1%0% Low Tide High Tide Habitat use by birds on sandy beaches with seaweed
  • 7. Invertebrates and seaweed • Majority of fauna found in old seaweed at High Water Springs (HWS), and in sediment at Low Water (LW) • Abundance of fauna appears to increase with decay stage of seaweed • HWS: average 59,617 individuals/m2 seaweed - dominated by oligochaete worms and fly larvae (Oligochaete abundance can reach 1, 000 000 individuals/m2 ) • LW: average 27,747 individuals/m2 -dominated by the polychaete families Capitellidae and Spionidae. Capitellid worms
  • 8. Conclusions • Beach-cast seaweed in Outer Hebrides supports an abundance of macrofauna • Seaweed is very important feeding ground for migratory shorebirds, as well as breeders relative to other coastal habitats • Trophic interactions still need to be investigated before questions can be answered about harvesting
  • 9. Project supported by the INTERREG IVA Programme Managed by SEUPB Funders Coordination Centre: Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban, Scotland T: +44 (0)1631 559000 F: +44 (0)1631 559001 E: biomara@sams.ac.uk W: www.biomara.org Thank-you

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