Temporal variation and succession in an algal-dominated high intertidal assemblage

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Foster, M. S., Nigg, E. W., Kiguchi, L. M., Hardin, D. D., & Pearse, J. S. (2003). Temporal variation and succession in an algal-dominated high intertidal assemblage. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 289(1), 15-39. doi:10.1016/S0022-0981(03)00035-2
TitleTemporal variation and succession in an algal-dominated high intertidal assemblage
AuthorsM. Foster, E. Nigg, L. Kiguchi, D. Hardin, J. Pearse
AbstractWe determined whether temporal variation and succession were similar among sites with similar species composition by sampling unmanipulated and cleared plots in a high intertidal assemblage dominated by Endocladia muricata and Mastocarpus papillatus. Sampling was done for 6 years at six sites spanning over 4° of latitude in California. Ten 1 × 2-m permanent plots were chosen in the central portion of the assemblage at each site. Four of these served as unmanipulated controls, three were cleared (scraped and burned) in the spring of 1985, and three were cleared in the fall of 1985. The cover of sessile and density of motile species were determined by subsampling within the plots from 1985 until 1991. Recovery of the clearings was determined by their similarity to the controls. The algae E. muricata, M. papillatus, and Fucus gardneri, and the barnacle Balanus glandula, were the most abundant sessile organisms in the control plots, although the latter never exceeded 12% cover at any site. The grazing gastropods Littorina scutulata/plena, various limpets, and Tegula funebralis were the most common mobile organisms. The species composition of the common species remained constant in the control plots over the study period and there were few large changes in relative abundance. Significant seasonal variation was detected in 11 species but variation was commonly site-specific. Ephemeral algae were abundant during early succession at only two of the six sites, and barnacle cover was low (< 15% cover) at four sites and moderate (15-50% cover) at the remaining two throughout succession. Recovery rate varied considerably among sites and between times of clearing (1-10%/month). Correlations between ephemeral algae and grazer abundance, and between these variables and recovery rate were not significant. The effects of grazers on recovery rate were only evident at one site where they appeared to reduce an initially high cover of ephemeral algae and delay the establishment of perennials. Some of the largest differences in recovery rate were between clearing times, associated with differences in the phenology of the dominant perennial algae. In spite of these differences, most plots recovered by the end of the study period. These results indicate that the assemblages in the control plots at each site were relatively stable and, while successional pathways and processes varied, the assemblage at most sites still recovered. Current models, based largely on biological interactions, that attempt to explain within assemblage structure and succession were not broadly applicable. © 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Start page15
End page39
Subjectsalga, community composition, intertidal community, succession, temporal variation, United States, algae, Balanus glandula, Endocladia muricata, Fucus gardneri, Gastropoda, Littorina scutulata, Mastocarpus papillatus, Patellidae, Tegula funebralis, Thoracica
NoteCited By (since 1996):31, Seaweeds, CODEN: JEMBA