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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter August 14, 2013

Assessment of Fucus virsoides distribution in the Gulf of Trieste (Adriatic Sea) and its relation to environmental variables

  • Martina Orlando-Bonaca EMAIL logo , Pierre-Alain Mannoni , Diego Poloniato and Annalisa Falace
From the journal Botanica Marina


The distribution of the endemic brown alga Fucus virsoides was assessed along the northern Adriatic coastline. A high-resolution geographic information system database was created using visual census methods to identify the presence and abundance of algae, including the geomorphology of the substrate. Samples of F. virsoides were collected for analysis of the quantitative spatial distribution. The abundance of F. virsoides was related to several environmental variables, including the relative exposure index (REI). The results support the hypothesis that the distribution of F. virsoides in the Gulf of Trieste is influenced mainly by the stability of mediolittoral substrata, wave exposure and the vicinity of freshwater inputs. Populations of this species are widespread in the Gulf of Trieste. Many of them were found growing inside small harbours or along a boatyard, where fluctuations in salinity and nutrient concentrations are frequent. Therefore, we conclude that F. virsoides cannot be considered an ecological indicator for seawater pollution nor for climate change, since it is subjected naturally to high pollution levels and environmental variability.

Corresponding author: Martina Orlando-Bonaca, Marine Biology Station, National Institute of Biology, SI-6330 Piran, Fornace 41, Slovenia, e-mail:

This study was partially financially supported by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Slovenia. We are grateful to Žiga Dobrajc, Vincent Pelissier and Laurent Markovic for their help and unforgettable joyful moments during the fieldwork. A special thanks to Boris Petelin for providing some environmental data, to Milijan Šižko for his help with statistical analyses and to Prof. Dr. Alenka Malej for her careful review of the paper and useful advice. We also thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments, which helped us to improve the manuscript.

This paper is dedicated to the memory of our wonderful colleague and friend Žiga Dobrajc, who tragically passed away. Both his friendship and his contribution to the field of marine biology research are sorely missed.


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Received: 2013-3-18
Accepted: 2013-7-5
Published Online: 2013-08-14
Published in Print: 2013-12-01

©2013 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston

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