|Testing a new classification of morphological functional groups of marine macroalgae for the detection of responses to stress|Balata, D.; Piazzi, L.; Rindi, F. (2011). Testing a new classification of morphological functional groups of marine macroalgae for the detection of responses to stress. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 158(11): 2459-2469. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-011-1747-y
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
|Authors|| || Top |
- Balata, D.
- Piazzi, L.
- Rindi, F., more
Morpho-functional group classifications have been widely used in studies concerning benthic macroalgal communities, due to their easy application and the reduced cost and workload compared with species-level identifications. However, their effectiveness in representing spatio-temporal patterns and describing the effect of disturbances has been disputed. We propose a new, expanded classification of morphological functional groups based on thallus structure, growth form, branching pattern, and taxonomic affinities. This approach was tested on subtidal macroalgal assemblages of the western Mediterranean. We examined the differences in composition of assemblages subjected to different types of stressors using species, traditional morphological groups, and new morphological groups. Results showed that the new morphological groups allowed to detect patterns highlighted through species analyses generally better than the use of traditional morpho-functional groups. The new morphological groups may represent a valid tool in monitoring programs and environmental impact assessments, where it is important to detect early stages of environmental changes using methods that allow to examine a large number of samples in a limited time.