Community-dependent variability in species composition and richness on rocky shores at a regional scale

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Title: Community-dependent variability in species composition and richness on rocky shores at a regional scale
Authors: Cefalì, Maria Elena | Cebrian, Emma | Chappuis, Eglantine | 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: Littoral communities | Rocky substrate | Algae | Mediterranean sea | Horizontal variation | Vertical variation
Knowledge Area: Botánica
Issue Date: 15-Dec-2019
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. 2019, 230: 106425. doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2019.106425
Abstract: Identifying scales at which most of the spatial heterogeneity occurs is important to understand how ecological communities are structured. Rocky shore communities are distributed vertically as a response to environmental variables and mainly water availability gradients. There has been much debate about the relative importance of vertical and horizontal variation gradients in littoral community structure and richness. In this study we assessed if horizontal variability is responsible for changes in community structure at a regional scale (hundreds of Km) by restraining vertical variability. We studied ten different rocky shore communities from the upper mediolittoral to the upper infralittoral levels with different geographical distribution patterns. We aimed at assessing if structure and species richness are affected by their geographical position of each community. The results proved that horizontal variation in species composition and richness was community-dependent and there was no common pattern at a regional scale. Communities with a wide geographic distribution typically showed some variation, which was related to changes in the environmental factors across the geographical gradient. This study sheds light on the existence of latitudinal variability in species composition and richness at a regional scale in rocky shores. It also strongly supports the validity of littoral communities and habitats from conservation panels as consistent ecosystem subdivisions and reliable working units.
Sponsor: This work was supported by the project INTRAMURAL CSIC Spain [grant number 0065] and the data for this study came from the project “Cartografia dels Hàbitats Litorals a Catalunya” (Departament de Territori i Sosteniblitat and Institut Cartogràfic, Generalitat de Catalunya), the Sustainable Blue Economy program, AFRIMED EASME/EMFF/2017/ and the Spanish Ministry Project ANIMA (CGL2016-76341-R, MINECO/FEDER, UE).
ISSN: 0272-7714 (Print) | 1096-0015 (Online)
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2019.106425
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2019 Elsevier Ltd.
Peer Review: si
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Appears in Collections:INV - Fitopatología - Artículos de Revistas

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