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Habitat modification affects recruitment of abalone in central New Zealand
Aguirre, J.D.; McNaught, D.C. (2011). Habitat modification affects recruitment of abalone in central New Zealand. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 158(3): 505-513.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Aguirre, J.D.
  • McNaught, D.C.

    The habitat experienced during early life-history stages can determine the number and quality of individuals that recruit to adult populations. In a field experiment, biogenic habitat complexity was manipulated (presence or absence of foliose macroalgae) at two depths (2–3 m and 5–6 m) and the habitat-dependent effects on recruitment of the black foot abalone (Haliotis iris) were examined at three field sites along the south coast of Wellington, New Zealand (41°20'S, 174°47'E), between July and November 2005. Recruit density (<5 weeks post-settlement) was measured on cobbles covered with crustose coralline algae. Habitats of low complexity (barrens treatments) had consistently greater densities of recruits than habitats of high complexity (algae treatments). However, recruits in algae habitats were larger, and for deep habitats, there was greater survival in algae habitats compared with barrens habitats. While depth had no significant effect on early recruit (<2 weeks post-settlement) density, late recruit (<5 weeks post-settlement) density was greater in shallow habitats, and so it seems recruit survival was greater in shallow habitats. In this experiment, algal habitat complexity had strong effects on early recruit abundance, but habitat-dependent variations in recruit growth and survival may modify initial patterns of abundance and determine recruitment to adult abalone populations.

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