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Community development on subtidal temperate reefs: the influences of wave energy and the stochastic recruitment of a dominant kelp
Smale, D.A. (2011). Community development on subtidal temperate reefs: the influences of wave energy and the stochastic recruitment of a dominant kelp. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 158(8): 1757-1766. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-011-1689-4
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
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    Marine

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  • Smale, D.A.

Abstract
    Patterns of community development on subtidal rocky reefs in Marmion Lagoon, southwest Australia, were investigated with a settlement panel experiment. We tested the hypothesis that community development would differ between outer and inner reefs lines, because exposure to swell and wave energy was significantly greater on outer reefs. Following a 14-month deployment, we recorded pronounced variability between panels and sites, but did not detect any effect of wave exposure on the structure of panel assemblages. Subsequent data exploration suggested the importance of the presence of kelp recruits (Ecklonia radiata) in structuring the overall assemblage. Panel assemblages with kelp recruits were significantly different in structure to those without, principally because of greater space coverage of encrusting coralline algae and less coverage of red turfing algae, spirorbids, and bryozoans. Mature E. radiata act as ecosystem engineers in subtidal rocky reefs in southwest Australia. Our results suggested the importance of young, recruiting kelps in determining patterns of early community development on newly available hard substrata.

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