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AEI 13:81-100 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00392

Large-scale salmon farming in Norway impacts the epiphytic community of Laminaria hyperborea

Barbro Taraldset Haugland1,2,*, Caroline S. Armitage1, Tina Kutti1, Vivian Husa1, Morten D. Skogen1, Trine Bekkby3, Marcos A. Carvajalino-Fernández1, Raymond J. Bannister1, Camille Anna White4, Kjell Magnus Norderhaug1,2, Stein Fredriksen1,2

1Institute of Marine Research, PO Box 1870, Nordnes, 5817 Bergen, Norway
2Department of Biosciences, Section for Aquatic Biology and Toxicology, PO Box 1066, Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway
3Section for Marine Biology, Norwegian Institute for Water Research, 0349 Oslo, Norway
4Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Taroona 7053, Tasmania, Australia
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Large-scale finfish farms are increasingly located in dispersive hard-bottom environments where Laminaria hyperborea forests dominate; however, the interactions between farm effluents and kelp forests are poorly understood. Effects of 2 levels of salmonid fish-farming effluents (high and low) on L. hyperborea epiphytic communities were studied by sampling canopy plants from 12 sites in 2 high-energy dispersive environments. Specifically, we assessed if farm effluents stimulated fast-growing epiphytic algae and faunal species on L. hyperborea stipes—as this can impact the kelp forest community composition—and/or an increased lamina epiphytic growth, which could negatively impact the kelp itself. We found that bryozoan biomass on the stipes was significantly higher at high-effluent farm sites compared to low-effluent farm and reference sites, resulting in a significantly different epiphytic community. Macroalgal biomass also increased with increasing effluent levels, including opportunistic Ectocarpus spp., resulting in a less heterogeneous macroalgae community at high-effluent farm sites. This habitat heterogeneity was further reduced by the high bryozoan biomass at the high-effluent sites. Such changes in the epiphyte community could have implications for the faunal community that relies on the epiphytes for food and refuge. On the kelp lamina, no clear response to farm effluents was found.


KEY WORDS: Laminaria hyperborea · Kelp · Epiphytes · Epiphytic community · Salmo salar · Atlantic salmon · Norway · Bryozoa


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Cite this article as: Haugland, Armitage CS, Kutti T, Husa V and others (2021) Large-scale salmon farming in Norway impacts the epiphytic community of Laminaria hyperborea. Aquacult Environ Interact 13:81-100. https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00392

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