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Temporal variance of disturbance did not affect diversity and structure of a marine fouling community in north-eastern New Zealand
Atalah, J.; Otto, S.A.; Anderson, M.J.; Costello, M.J.; Lenz, M.; Wahl, M. (2007). Temporal variance of disturbance did not affect diversity and structure of a marine fouling community in north-eastern New Zealand. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 153(2): 199-211. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-007-0798-6
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Atalah, J.
  • Otto, S.A.
  • Anderson, M.J.
  • Costello, M.J., more
  • Lenz, M.
  • Wahl, M.

Abstract
    Natural heterogeneity in ecological parameters, like population abundance, is more widely recognized and investigated than variability in the processes that control these parameters. Experimental ecologists have focused mainly on the mean intensity of predictor variables and have largely ignored the potential to manipulate variances in processes, which can be considered explicitly in experimental designs to explore variation in causal mechanisms. In the present study, the effect of the temporal variance of disturbance on the diversity of marine assemblages was tested in a field experiment replicated at two sites on the northeast coast of New Zealand. Fouling communities grown on artificial settlement substrata experienced disturbance regimes that differed in their inherent levels of temporal variability and timing of disturbance events, while disturbance intensity was identical across all levels. Additionally, undisturbed assemblages were used as controls. After 150 days of experimental duration, the assemblages were then compared with regard to their species richness, abundance and structure. The disturbance effectively reduced the average total cover of the assemblages, but no consistent effect of variability in the disturbance regime on the assemblages was detected. The results of this study were corroborated by the outcomes from simultaneous replicate experiments carried out in each of eight different biogeographical regions around the world.

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