Life on the boundary: Environmental factors as drivers of habitat distribution in the littoral zone

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Title: Life on the boundary: Environmental factors as drivers of habitat distribution in the littoral zone
Authors: Cefalì, Maria Elena | Cebrian, Emma | Chappuis, Eglantine | Pinedo, Susana | Terradas, Marc | Mariani, Simone | Ballesteros, Enric
Research Group/s: Fitopatología
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Ciencias del Mar y Biología Aplicada
Keywords: Mediolittoral | Upper infralittoral | Benthic assemblages | Algae | Seaweeds | Regional scale
Knowledge Area: Botánica
Issue Date: 5-Apr-2016
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. 2016, 172: 81-92. doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2016.01.043
Abstract: The boundary between land and sea, i.e. the littoral zone, is home to a large number of habitats whose distribution is primarily driven by the distance to the sea level but also by other environmental factors such as littoral's geomorphological features, wave exposure, water temperature or orientation. Here we explore the relative importance of those major environmental factors that drive the presence of littoral rocky habitats along 1100 Km of Catalonia's shoreline (Spain, NW Mediterranean) by using Geographic Information Systems and Generalized Linear Models. The distribution of mediolittoral and upper infralittoral habitats responded to different environmental factors. Mediolittoral habitats showed regional differences drawn by sea-water temperature and substrate type. Wave exposure (hydrodynamism), slope and geological features were only relevant to those mediolittoral habitats with specific environmental needs. We did not find any regional pattern of distribution in upper infralittoral habitats, and selected factors only played a moderate role in habitat distribution at the local scale. This study shows for the first time that environmental factors determining habitat distribution differ within the mediolittoral and the upper infralittoral zones and provides the basis for further development of models oriented at predicting the distribution of littoral marine habitats.
Sponsor: Financial support for this work was provided by projects INTRAMURAL CSIC 0065 “Estudios para la implementación de las Directivas Europeas Hábitats, Marco del Agua y Estrategia Marina en el Mediterráneo Español”. This study is also a contribution of GRACCIE (C5D2007-00067) and CoCoNET (FP7 Grant Agreement: 287844) projects.
ISSN: 0272-7714 (Print) | 1096-0015 (Online)
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2016.01.043
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.
Peer Review: si
Publisher version:
Appears in Collections:INV - Fitopatología - Artículos de Revistas
Research funded by the EU

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