BIOTIC Species Information for Fucus vesiculosus
Researched byNicola White Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byDr Stefan Kraan
General Biology
Growth formFoliose
Feeding methodPhotoautotroph
Mobility/MovementPermanent attachment
Environmental positionEpifloral
Typical food typesNot relevant HabitAttached
BioturbatorNot relevant FlexibilityHigh (>45 degrees)
FragilityIntermediate SizeLarge(>50cm)
HeightUp to 1.5. m in the U.K. Growth Rate0.48 cm / week
Adult dispersal potentialNone DependencyIndependent
General Biology Additional InformationAir bladders or vesicles are produced annually to make the frond float upwards when immersed, except at highly exposed coasts where no air bladders are produced (S. Kraan, pers. comm.). Fucus vesiculosus supports few colonial organisms, but provides substratum and shelter for the tube worm Spirorbis spirorbis, herbivorous isopods, such as Idotea, and surface grazing snails, such as Littorina obtusata.

Growth Rate
The growth rate of fucoids is known to vary both geographically and seasonally (Lehvo et al., 2001). Relative growth rate can vary from 0.05-0.14 cm/day depending on temperature and light conditions (S. Kraan, pers. comm.). The increase in growth rate for Fucus vesiculosus at 10, 12.5 and 15 °C was found to be, on average, 280% higher than it was at 7 °C (Strömgren, 1977). In the northern Baltic, the highest relative growth rate of vegetative branches for Fucus vesiculosus was observed in the summer (up to 0.7% / day ) compared to winter growth (less than 0.3% / day). In Sweden, growth rates of 0.7-0.8 cm / week were reported over the summer months of June and August (Carlson, 1991).

Growth rate can also vary with exposure. In Scotland, Fucus vesiculosus at Sgeir Bhuidhe, a very exposed site, grew about 0.31 cm / week whereas plants at Ascophyllum Rock grew an average of 0.68 cm / week (Knight & Parke, 1950). The proportion of energy allocated between vegetative and reproductive growth also varies throughout the year. In the northern Baltic, reproductive branches experienced a peak in growth rate in mid April where the relative growth rate was almost 0.1% / day (Lehvo et al., 2001).
Biology References Knight & Parke, 1950, Lehvo ., 2001, Carlson, 1991, Strömgren, 1977,
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