Effects of temporal variability of disturbance on the succession in marine fouling communities in northern-central Chile.

Cifuentes, M., Kamlah, C., Thiel, M., Lenz, Mark and Wahl, Martin (2007) Effects of temporal variability of disturbance on the succession in marine fouling communities in northern-central Chile. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 352 . pp. 280-294. DOI 10.1016/j.jembe.2007.08.004.

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We investigated the effects of temporal variability in a disturbance regime on fouling communities at two study sites in a northern-central Chilean bay. Fouling assemblages grown on artificial settlement substrata were disturbed by mechanical removal of biomass at different time intervals. Using one single disturbance frequency (10 disturbance events over 5 months) we applied 7 different temporal disturbance treatments: a constant disturbance regime (identical intervals between disturbance events), and 6 variable treatments where both variableness and sequences of intervals between disturbance events were manipulated. Two levels of temporal variableness (low and high, i.e. disturbance events were either dispersed or highly clumped in time) in the disturbance regime were applied by modifying the time intervals between subsequent disturbance events. To investigate the temporal coupling between disturbance events and other ecological processes (e.g. larval supply and recruitment intensity), three different sequences of disturbance intervals were nested in each of the two levels of temporal variableness. Species richness, evenness, total abundance, and structure of communities that experienced the various disturbance regimes were compared at the end of the experiment (15 days after the last disturbance event). Disturbance strongly influenced the community structure and led to a decrease in evenness and total abundance but not species richness. In undisturbed reference communities, the dominant competitor Pyura chilensis (Tunicata) occupied most available space while this species was suppressed in all disturbed treatments. Surprisingly, neither temporal variableness in the disturbance regime nor the sequence of intervals between disturbance events had an effect on community structure. Temporal variability in high disturbance regimes may be of minor importance for fouling communities, because they are dominated by opportunistic species that are adapted to rapidly exploit available space.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Benthic Ecology; Disturbance; Fouling community; Succession; Temporal variability
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-B Experimental Ecology - Benthic Ecology
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.jembe.2007.08.004
ISSN: 0022-0981
Projects: GAME
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2009 10:08
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2017 13:32
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/1410

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