|Changing community states in the Gulf of Maine: synergism between invaders, overfishing and climate change|
|Harris, L.G.; Tyrrell, M.C. (2001). Changing community states in the Gulf of Maine: synergism between invaders, overfishing and climate change. Biological Invasions 3: 9-21|
|In: Biological Invasions. Springer: Berlin. ISSN 1387-3547, more|
Human activities, including overfishing and species introductions, have had a dramatic impact on benthic communities in the Gulf of Maine within the past two decades. Prior to the 1970s, the climax community in the shallow subtidal was composed of Laminaria spp. kelp beds with an understory of arborescent red algae. In the 1980s, a population explosion of the green sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis, created an alternate community state, urchin barrens. Recently, a new community has been observed in former urchin barrens and kelp beds. This assemblage is principally composed of the introduced species: Codium fragile subsp. tomentosoides (green alga), Membranipora membranacea (bryozoan), Diplosoma listerianum (tunicate), Bonnemaisonia hamifera (red alga) and the opportunistic species Mytilus edulis (mussel) and Desmarestia aculeata (brown alga). In addition to changes in relative abundance, many of these species have greatly expanded their distribution and habitat selection. A model detailing mechanisms for the transition of the traditional kelp bed and urchin barren communities to others is presented and implications for this new community are discussed.