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- Population biology of the intertidal kelp, Alaria marginata Postels and Ruprecht: A non-fugitive annual,
- Persistence of annual plant populations requires sufficient seeds and suitable habitat for development and growth each year. Competition with perennials may prevent within site persistence and result in "fugitive" annual populations. Comparisons have been made between the population biology of annual macroalgae and terrestrial plants, but demographic information necessary to make strong comparisons is lacking for most of these algae, and life history differences may make such comparisons questionable. We studied population dynamics of the kelp Alaria marginata to determine if it was an annual and, if so, how populations persisted. This kelp is the dominant macroalga on exposed mid to low rocky intertidal shores along the Big Sur coast of California. Experimental clearings at two sites were used to assess recruitment timing and survivorship. Sporophytes were collected monthly to determine growth and fecundity. Recruitment occurred in late winter to early spring, primarily on geniculate corallines and residual A. marginata holdfasts. Thinning was inversely related to density, and occurred during the February through July growing season as larger thalli rapidly increased in length (up to 1.4 m month-1) and formed a thick canopy. Sorus development was positively related to size, began as early as March, peaked in late August-October, and decreased as adults were removed by winter surf. Spore release was generally highest (108-109 spores individual-11 h-1) between October and January and associated with high water motion. Survivorship of sporophytes beyond one year was < 1%, showing the populations were annual. Field observations and experiments on effects of canopy clearing, season of clearing, and influence of substrate type on recruitment were done to assess how these annual populations persist. Massive spore production at the onset of fall storms, survival of microscopic stages for 3-4 months facilitated by microhabitat refuges, rapid growth, large size and rapid maturation of sporophytes contributed to persistence. Furthermore, the dense stands with thick canopies may suppress potential competitors via shading and abrasion. Rather than being a fugitive, this combination of growth and life history features enables A. marginata and perhaps other large, annual kelps to maintain perennial populations. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved., Cited By (since 1996):9, CODEN: JEMBA, ,
- McConnico, Foster
- Diversity and natural history of a Lithothamnion muelleri-Sargassum horridum community in the Gulf of California
- We quantitatively assessed the relative contribution of the rhodolith form of Lithothamnion muelleri, a likely foundation species, to macroorganism diversity in a community also inhabited by the large fucalean Sargassum horridum at a site near Cabo Los Machos at the mouth of Bahía Concepción, Baja California Sur, Mexico. The composition and abundance of seaweeds, epibenthic invertebrates, and fish were estimated in March and October 2003, and invertebrates within rhodoliths (cryptofauna) in March 2003. Rhodoliths and Sargassum horridum had the highest cover of all organisms within the 0.5-km 2, 2-8-m-deep cobble-sand site. A total of 29 species of seaweeds, 40 taxa of benthic invertebrates, and 33 species of fish were sampled in transects and quadrats. Macroalgal and fish diversity were similar between sampling times as a result of loss and replacement of taxa, but benthic invertebrate diversity declined without replacement from March to October. Rhodolith cover was similar at both sampling times. The cover and density of S. horridum were highly seasonal, and the non-rhodolith flora changed from abundant S. horridum (35% cover) in March to abundant red algal turf in October (22% cover). The sea urchin Arbacia incisa, tunicates, and polychaetes were the most abundant epibenthic invertebrates in March, but declined by October, the former to zero. Grunts (Haemulon maculicauda) and porgies (Calamus brachysomus) were the most abundant fish at both sampling times, but there were large temporal changes in some other species, especially schooling fishes. Rhodolith density in March was 24 ind m -2, with numerous individuals >8 cm diameter. Fifteen rhodoliths from a range of size classes contained 114 cryptofaunal taxa with an average of 40 taxa /individual in the largest rhodoliths. These results show the importance of rhodolith habitat to diversity, the large temporal changes in some assemblages, and the exceptionally high diversity of this subtropical community.
- Foster, McConnico, Lundsten, Wadsworth, Kimball, Brooks, Medina-López, Riosmena-Rodríguez, Hernández-Carmona, Vásquez-Elizondo, Johnson, Steller