Accurate measurements of surface temperatures with an infrared (IR) thermometer require input of the emissivities of the surfaces being measured; however, few determinations of the emissivities of intertidal organisms’ surfaces have been made. Emissivities of intertidal macroalgae were measured to determine whether algal species, measurement angle, hydration, and layering affected them. Emissivities were similar and averaged 0.94 among 11 of 13 species. The species with lower and more variable emissivities (Chondracanthus exasperatus and Desmarestia viridis) differed in morphology from the other species, which were relatively flat thin blades with little surface texture. Measurement angle caused emissivities to decrease significantly in Mazzaella splendens but not in three other species. Hydration and layering of Ulva lactuca also had no effect. At 22 °C, measured temperatures were within 1 °C of actual temperatures when thermometer emissivity settings ranged from 0.75 to 1.00. When emissivities were set lower than actual values, measured temperatures were lower than actual temperatures at 15 °C and higher than actual temperatures at 60 °C. When the IR thermometer was used to measure surface temperatures of nine species of intertidal algae immediately before they were inundated by the incoming tide, temperatures were higher in mid intertidal than low intertidal individuals and higher on a sunnier day than an overcast day. Temperatures of U. lactucaincreased with increasing height on the shore, but temperatures of Ulvaria obscura did not. Temperatures were also higher in Fucus distichus blades than receptacles, and lower in U. lactucaand M. splendens occurring in the lower layers of stacks of algae.
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© The Author(s) 2014
Van Alstyne, K.L. & Olson, T.K. Mar Biol (2014) 161: 1409. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-014-2429-3
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