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An integrated study of the temporal and spatial variation in the supply of propagules, recruitment and assemblages of intertidal macroalgae on a wave-exposed rocky coast, Victoria, Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2004-10-28, 00:00 authored by Alecia BellgroveAlecia Bellgrove, M Clayton, Gerry QuinnGerry Quinn
Recruitment is known to influence distributions and abundances of benthic marine organisms. It is therefore important to document patterns of variability in recruitment and how these relate to patterns in established assemblages. This study provides an integrated assessment of the temporal and spatial variation in supply and recruitment of propagules and established populations of several macroalgae. Propagules in water samples from two stages of the incoming tide, recruitment to artificial substrata and percentage cover of species established on the shore were recorded every 2 months from December 1994 to October 1995, in two zones of an intertidal, wave-exposed rocky shore. Variability in recruitment was measured at three spatial scales: 10s cm, 100s cm and 100s m. Availability and recruitment of most taxa were greatest between April and August, although many species had available propagules and recruited throughout the year. Temporal variation in the established assemblages was, however, more species-specific. Differences in established assemblages between zones were reflected in differences in availability and recruitment of propagules between zones. Recruitment could not be predicted directly from supply of propagules, but the two processes were linked. For most species, the greatest variation in recruitment occurred at the smallest spatial scale of 10s cm, although there was also considerable large-scale (between site) variation in recruitment of several species. Results indicate that while pre-and post-settlement mortality are likely to influence macroalgal distribution and abundance, the temporal and spatial variability in supply and recruitment of propagules can explain much of the patchiness in macroalgal assemblages.



Journal of experimental marine biology and ecology






207 - 225


Elsevier BV


Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2004, Elsevier B.V.