This study examined the interactive effects of grazing by limpets and inclination of the substratum in maintaining differences between mid-shore and low-shore assemblages of algae in the northwest Mediterranean, at different scales of space and through time. Alternative models leading to different predictions about these effects were proposed and tested, Limpets were excluded by fences from areas of the substratum at mid levels on the shore. The response of algal assemblages to this manipulation was compared with control and enclosure plots at the same level, and with unmanipulated plots in the low shore where limpets are less abundant, The effects of limpets were examined at several replicated sites (0.1-4 km apart) for each slope of the substratum (nearly horizontal vs vertical), at different locations (hundreds of kilometres apart) and at different times. Individual taxa responded differently to limpet exclusion. The percentage cover of the coarsely branched and filamentous algae increased significantly in exclosure plots, in some loser reaching values found on the low shore. These patterns, however, varied greatly from shore to shore and significant effects were found both on horizontal and vertical substrata. Multivariate analyses indicated that grazing by limpets accounted for about 20% of the differences between mid-shore and low-shore assemblages. This effect was independent of substratum inclination and was consistent in space and time, suggesting that physical conditions were not as stressful for macroalgae on vertical substrata as initially supposed, Variable recruitment of algae is proposed as a possible explanation for the lack of consistency in the effects of limpets at the scale of the shore. The results of this study emphasize the need for multiple-scale analyses of the interactive effects of physical and biological factors to understand the organization of natural assemblages.
|Autori:||BENEDETTI CECCHI, Lisandro; Bulleri, Fabio; Cinelli, Francesco|
|Titolo:||The interplay of physical and biological factors in maintaining midshore and low-shore assemblages on rocky coasts in the northwest mediterranean|
|Anno del prodotto:||2000|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1007/s004420051028|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|