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Effects of plant morphology on small-scale distribution of invertebrates
Hansen, J.P.; Sagerman, J.; Wikström, S.A. (2010). Effects of plant morphology on small-scale distribution of invertebrates. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 157(10): 2143-2155.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162; e-ISSN 1432-1793, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Hansen, J.P.
  • Sagerman, J.
  • Wikström, S.A.

    Habitat structure influences organism communities by mediating interactions between individuals and species, affecting abundance and species richness. We examined whether variations in the morphology of soft-bottom plants affect their function as habitat and whether complex structured plants support higher macroinvertebrate abundance and species richness. Three Baltic Sea plant species were studied, together with artificial plants resembling each species. In a field collection, we found higher invertebrate abundance on the morphologically more complex plants Myriophyllum spicatum and Chara baltica than on the structurally simpler plant Potamogeton perfoliatus. In a colonization experiment, we found the highest invertebrate abundance on artificial M. spicatum but found no difference between natural plants. Invertebrate taxon richness displayed no consistent relationship with plant structural complexity. The results imply that plant morphology influences small-scale invertebrate distribution, partly supporting the hypothesis that structurally complex plants harbour higher invertebrate abundance.

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