Role of colonization in spatio-temporal patchiness of microgastropods in coralline turf habitat

Olabarria, C.. 2002 Role of colonization in spatio-temporal patchiness of microgastropods in coralline turf habitat. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 274 (2). 121-140.

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The ability of benthic macrofauna to disperse and colonize new habitats throughout their life may contribute substantially to small-scale patchiness in abundances in different habitats. Microgastropods in coralline turf on rocky shores in Australia are very patchy in abundance at different spatio-temporal scales. They therefore represent an ideal assemblage for testing hypotheses about processes of colonization. Patterns and rates of colonization of 10 species of microgastropods were investigated in one intertidal habitat (coralline turf) in Botany Bay, New South Wales, Australia, using artificial substrata, which are considered to be a good mimic of natural coralline turfs. The experiment was designed to test the hypotheses that (1) patterns (abundance of colonizing individuals) and mode (juveniles vs. adults) of colonization depends on the proximity of a patch to a potential source of dispersing colonists (i.e. patch of natural coralline turf), (2) different species show different rates of colonization, and (3) patterns of succession are not repeatable among different patches of natural algae. Seven different plots (natural patches of coralline turf) were randomly chosen in the area of study. Artificial units (called patches) were placed at different distances around each plot (within the plot and 0, 50 or 100 cm away from the edge). Samples were collected 6, 13, and 27 days after the experiment started. Colonization was rapid (i.e. within 6 days) for most species. Pattern (number of individuals) and mode of colonization (adults vs. juveniles) varied among algal plots. Most species responded differently across patches causing no consistent patterns of colonization. Furthermore, patterns of colonization of artificial units were not always synchronous with, or in the same direction as, changes in abundances in the nearest algal plots, which themselves showed no consistent spatio-temporal pattern.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0022-0981
Additional Keywords: Australia; Intertidal rocky shore; Microgastropods; Artificial turf; Colonization; Patchiness
Date made live: 26 Aug 2008 +0 (UTC)

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