Seaweed Desiccation Essay

1725 words - 7 pages

When looking out onto the beach, there are various sections that are visibly different from one another. These zones are due to seaweed, the size, density and more obviously colours. The most common colour seaweeds are browns, from the phaeophycae family. During the day, as tides come and go, the seaweed becomes saturated and then starts to dry out, called desiccation.This coursework will look at the adaptations of seaweed?s to reduce desiccation, and also the factors that cause the desiccation of seaweed. To begin with, the actual method will have to be looked at to determine a good way of retrieving the data, and then how to interpret the results to produce useful data.The seaweed?s I will be looking for to test will be brown algae (phaeophyta), in particular, I will be looking for seaweed?s from all areas of the shore, starting by the waters edge and moving to the areas of high tide, the furthest extreme from the waters edge.Seaweed?s.Channel Wrack: Channel wrack is found at the high water mark. This is a small seaweed, about 10-15 cm in length. It has a distinct channel running down one side of the frond. It is held onto the rocks by it?s holdfast to prevent it being washed away during high tide. Channel wrack spends about 70-90% of the time out of water, due to the fact that it lies above the high water mark of neap tides.Spiral wrack: In the zone below the channel wrack, spiral wrack grows to be between 12-35 cm in length and is uncovered for about 60-70% of its life. The fronds of the spiral wrack are broader and flatter than those of the channel wrack, and have a distinctive mid rib as opposed to a channel or groove. The fronds are twisted into a spiral, hence the name.Knotted wrack/Egg wrack: This seaweed covers a large amount of the beach, and can grow to be up to 2 metres in length. The top part of this section can be out of the water for about 55% of its life, while some of the bottom seaweed can be out of the water for just 15% of its life. The knotted wrack has ?bubbles? all along its fronds, which act as buoys to keep the seaweed in the sunlight whilst it is submerged.Bladder wrack: This seaweed can grow to be about 1 metre long, and exists alongside the egg wrack. It too has bladders of gas along its fronds, which help to separate the fronds when in the water, and therefore allowing all parts of the plant to photosynthesise. The fronds are broad and flattened, and possess a mid rib.Serrated wrack: This species generally grows to be about 60cm long, and spends most of its life submerged in the zone below the egg and bladder wrack. This zone is exposed at low water during spring tides.Oarweed/Laminaria saccharina: Sub-tidal. Large brown algae rarely out of water except at low tide. Large fronds, and holdfasts ?sticking? the seaweed to rocks below the water. Mucilaginous to help retard water loss. Fronds are thick, with a large surface area.Amongst the seaweed?s I will be using, there will also be examples of green and red algae as...

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