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An Investigation Into the Effect of Wave Exposure On the Morphology of Fucus Vesiculosus (Bladder Wrack)

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AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE EFFECT OF WAVE EXPOSURE ON THE MORPHOLOGY OF FUCUS VESICULOSUS (BLADDER WRACK) Introduction This investigation is on the effect of wave exposure on the morphology of the seaweed Fucus vesiculosus, commonly known as bladder wrack. Fucus vesiculosus is a common seaweed, found in the Atlantic, which is made up of a holdfast, midrib and fronds. It also has bladders to aid buoyancy so that the plant can float on the surface of the water and get light for photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is not only used for growth, but also for the development of the holdfast, which uses carbohydrates not used up in the synthesis of starch. From a previous pilot study of a transect along a rocky shoreline, it is known that Fucus vesiculosus always grows on the mid zone of rocky shores (see appendix). This is because the water levels are too high on the lower shore, and the desiccation risk on the upper shore is too high. At sites with high wave exposure, the shore is exposed to a lot of wave action and, there will be a lot of turbulence. Because of the turbulence, less light will be able to penetrate the water. The growth of the Fucus vesiculosus depends on carbohydrates being produced as a product of photosynthesis, and the rate of photosynthesis is directly proportional to light intensity. ...read more.


(n1 + n2) / 2 = nn1 (nn1 + n3) /2 = nn2 (nn2 + n4) /2 = nn3 etc. The running mean of lengths of Fucus vesiculosus at Instow Sample number Lengths (cm) 1 2 27.3 3 23.2 4 22.7 5 21.2 6 20.6 7 19.7 8 20.1 9 20.2 10 20.1 11 19.9 12 20.3 13 20.5 14 21.4 15 21.5 16 21.6 17 22.6 18 22.9 19 23.4 20 23.4 21 23.3 22 23.1 23 23.1 24 23.3 25 23.9 26 24.4 27 24.5 28 24.2 29 23.7 30 23.3 Table 3 See graph 4 for graphic representation of the running mean (table 3). Two frequency histograms were plotted (see graphs 2 and 3), to show the differences the wave exposure made, and to see whether the data was normally distributed hence deciding which statistical test to use. The T test was chosen because the data is normally distributed and it will show the differences between the two means of information collected from the two sites, and show me whether the differences between the two sites are purely coincidental or whether it is due to the difference in wave exposure. See appendix for calculations and results for the t test. Analysis The abiotic factors at the two sites, mentioned in the methodology are all fairly similar to each other. This means that it can be said that any differences discovered between the morphology of F. ...read more.


To obtain the highest level of accuracy, a continuous transect along the beach would have perhaps given more precise results as a larger percentage of the population would have been taken into account. To find out more about the effect of wave exposure o the morphology of F. vesiculosus, the investigation would have to be taken further afield and more beaches would have to be sampled, all with different levels of wave exposure. This investigation can only be relevant to sheltered and semi exposed shores like Instow and Abbotsham. If there were more dependent variables then the results would also say more about the specific effects of wave action and more links could be made and detailed conclusions drawn about the effect it has on many aspects of the morphology of the seaweed. The results of the investigation could have been presented in other ways, which would make more trends visible, maybe including more statistical tests for proof of any more trends possibly found. The results obtained are quite restricted in terms of how they can be interpreted, but had more results been obtained, more options would have been available as to how they could have been interpreted. Conclusion The effect of wave exposure on the morphology of Fucus vesiculosus is that, according to this investigation, the less exposed the plants are to waves, the more air bladders they have. Seaweed more exposed to waves tends to be longer, and have less air bladders. ...read more.

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