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Turf Algal Bed (Biotic Group)

Component: Biotic

Unique Identifier: 565

Biotic Setting Benthic/Attached Biota
Biotic Class Aquatic Vegetation Bed
Biotic Subclass Benthic Macroalgae
Biotic Group Turf Algal Bed
Biotic Community Mixed Algal Turf Communities

Definition Areas dominated by turf algae that represent a multi-specific assemblage of diminutive, often filamentous, algae that attain a canopy height of only 1 - 10 millimeters (see Steneck 1988 for review). These microalgal species have a high diversity (more than 100 species in the western Atlantic), although only 30 - 50 species commonly occur at one time. There is a high turnover of individual turf algal species seasonally; only a few species are able to persist or remain abundant throughout the year. But turf algae—when observed as a functional group—remain relatively stable year round (Steneck and Dethier 1994), and they are often able to recover rapidly after being partially consumed by herbivores. Turfs are capable of trapping ambient sediment, and they kill corals by gradual encroachment.