The influence of canopy cover on the ecological function of a key autogenic ecosystem engineer

Pocklington, Jacqueline B, Keough, Michael J, O’Hara, Tim D and Bellgrove, Alecia 2019, The influence of canopy cover on the ecological function of a key autogenic ecosystem engineer, Diversity, vol. 11, no. 5, pp. 1-26, doi: 10.3390/d11050079.

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Title The influence of canopy cover on the ecological function of a key autogenic ecosystem engineer
Author(s) Pocklington, Jacqueline B
Keough, Michael J
O’Hara, Tim D
Bellgrove, AleciaORCID iD for Bellgrove, Alecia
Journal name Diversity
Volume number 11
Issue number 5
Article ID 79
Start page 1
End page 26
Total pages 26
Publisher MDPI
Place of publication Basel, Switzerland
Publication date 2019-05
ISSN 1424-2818
Keyword(s) macroalgae
intertidal reef
Summary Intertidal fucoid algae can function as ecosystem engineers across temperate marine regions. In this investigation, we assessed the function of the alga dominating rocky reefs in temperate Australia and New Zealand, Hormosira banksii. Invertebrate and algal species assemblages were examined within areas of full H. banksii canopy, areas where it was naturally patchy or absent (within its potential range on the shore) and areas where the intact canopy was experimentally disturbed. Differences in species assemblages were detected between areas with natural variation in H. banksii cover (full, patchy, negligible), with defined species associated with areas of full cover. Differences were also detected between experimentally manipulated and naturally patchy areas of canopy cover. Species assemblages altered in response to canopy manipulations and did not recover even twelve months after initial sampling. Both light intensity and temperature were buffered by full canopies compared to patchy canopies and exposed rock. This study allows us to predict the consequences to the intertidal community due to the loss of canopy cover, which may result from a range of disturbances such as trampling, storm damage, sand burial and prolonged exposure to extreme temperature, and further allow for improved management of this key autogenic ecosystem engineer.
Language eng
DOI 10.3390/d11050079
Field of Research 060208 Terrestrial Ecology
0301 Analytical Chemistry
0906 Electrical and Electronic Engineering
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2019, the authors
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