plants have been measured over 30 m long and forms a canopy over other smaller
algae. By doing so, they increase habitat complexity and provide a refuge
for a greater number of fish and invertebrate species, adults and juveniles.
Macrocystis is also a very productive plant and likely to be important
in developing a detritus based food web.
The loss of this alga is likely to impact on various animal species.
Some Tasmanian abalone divers, crayfishermen and urchin divers claim their best catches come from within Macrocystis beds. The decline in levels of the alga in Tasmania may have resulted in lowered catches of crayfish, abalone and urchin.
The decline in the Stripy Trumpeter and Real Bastard Trumpeter numbers (fish species) have declined on Tasmania's east coast. This may be partly attributable to the decrease in stocks of Macrocystis.
Macrocystis also plays a role in trapping larvae of the important commercial species of lobster and abalone. In urchin barren areas where there are few seaweeds and thus minimal physical barriers to current flow, eggs and larvae are likely to be swept from the reefs.
The high productivity of this alga and the ability to increase habitat complexity means that this alga is potentially an important component of the local marine ecosystem.
Common species found in surveys as part of this project that may be expected to be associated with Macrocystis in south and eastern Tasmania are listed in the following tables:
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