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Intertidal rocky shore biotopes of the Azores: a quantitative approach
Wallenstein, F.M.; Neto, A.I. (2006). Intertidal rocky shore biotopes of the Azores: a quantitative approach. Helgol. Mar. Res. 60(3): 196-206. dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10152-006-0035-6
In: Helgoland Marine Research. Springer: Berlin; Heidelberg. ISSN 1438-387X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Biotopes; Community composition; Comparative studies; Methodology; Rocky shores; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Wallenstein, F.M.
  • Neto, A.I., more

Abstract
    Rocky littoral communities of the Azores are dominated by macroalgae where turf formations represent the main life form as on many subtropical and tropical shores. The present study aimed at describing and classifying benthic intertidal biotopes of the Azores using clear quantification and data analysis methodologies to be used in similar studies for spatial and/or temporal comparison. This numerical approach intends to have management and conservation applicability. Thirty study locations along the coast of Sao Miguel island were characterised by substratum type (cobbles, boulders or bedrock - different stability levels) and exposure to wave action (high, medium or low exposure), from June to August 2002. Algae, sessile and sedentary invertebrates were recorded along transects, and the more conspicuous taxa quantified. Community structure is mainly shaped by substratum stability - unstable cobble communities are separate from those of more stable boulders and bedrock. Boulders present an intermediate community composition between cobbles and bedrock. Exposure to wave action induces smaller variation in community composition. Sixteen biotopes have been recognised. Ultimately the present paper provides an objective set of biotope definition tools for a broad public whose interest focuses on spatial and temporal comparison of coastal communities and associated habitats.

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