Structural integrity of Ellisolandia elongata reefs: A mechanical approach to compare tensile strengths in natural and controlled environments

Federica Ragazzola, Giancarlo Raiteri, Paride Fabbri, Matteo Scafè, Maurizio Florio, Matteo Nannini, Chiara Lombardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Geniculate coralline algae are oases of biodiversity, providing nursery areas and shelter for the species that live amongst their fronds. The key to their success in the inter-tidal is the ability to withstand hydrodynamic forces. Under culturing conditions most of the physical and ecological stressors such as intense hydrodynamic forces and grazing are extremely reduced, thus affecting species mechanical properties and their response to external threats. The aim of the present study was to investigate tensile mechanical properties of clusters of fronds of Ellisolandia elongata from natural (sheltered and exposed reef) and culturing conditions (after 1 month of culturing). The tensile test showed that the first failure stress (σI) was not significantly different between the natural and culturing conditions, indicating that the two reefs (sheltered and exposed) were characterized by the same distribution of pre-existing, inherent structural flaws. Interestingly, the σmax(maximum stress before rupture) was significantly different between the two conditions, with the culturing condition being more resistant to average load compared to the natural conditions. The maximum stress before rupture (σmax) showed the influence of the environment in reducing the strength and elasticity of the fronds.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12455
Pages (from-to)-
JournalMarine Ecology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology

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