Field measurement of the dynamics of the bull kelp Durvillaea antarctica (Chamisso) Heriot
Stevens, CL and Hurd, CL and Smith, MJ, Field measurement of the dynamics of the bull kelp Durvillaea antarctica (Chamisso) Heriot, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 269, (2) pp. 147-171. ISSN 0022-0981 (2002) [Refereed Article]
Seaweed habitats and morphological development are strongly affected by wave forces. Novel measurements were made of the force dynamics of the large intertidal macroalga Durvillaea antarctica under the influence of wave action. Synchronized video, a pressure sensor and a resistance wave gauge provided data describing the wave field. The response of seaweeds to waves was gauged using instrumentation mounted directly on the seaweed, including accelerometers and displacement and force transducers. These field measurements were used to estimate forces and bending moments acting at the holdfast, where failure is most likely to occur. For waves of the order of 0.5 m high, we measured maximum forces on the stipe of around 300 N and blade accelerations that exceeded 30 m s−2. During large wave events, inferred bending moments at the base of the stipe reached average values of around 140 N m. There was a decoupling between the blade response and the force experienced at the stipe base. Furthermore, changes in water depth throughout the tidal cycle had a systematic effect on blade accelerations and moments at the holdfast.