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Context-dependent community facilitation in seagrass meadows along a hydrodynamic stress gradient
Meysick, L.; Ysebaert, T.; Jansson, A.; Montserrat, F.; Valanko, S.; Villnäs, A.; Boström, C.; Norkko, J.; Norkko, A. (2019). Context-dependent community facilitation in seagrass meadows along a hydrodynamic stress gradient. J. Sea Res. 150-151: 8-23. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seares.2019.05.001
In: Journal of Sea Research. Elsevier/Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Amsterdam; Den Burg. ISSN 1385-1101; e-ISSN 1873-1414, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    Ecosystem engineer; Zostera marina; Conditional facilitation; Seagrass; Habitat modification; Foundation species

Authors  Top 
  • Meysick, L.
  • Ysebaert, T., more
  • Jansson, A.
  • Montserrat, F.
  • Valanko, S.
  • Villnäs, A.
  • Boström, C., more
  • Norkko, J.
  • Norkko, A., more

Abstract
    Foundation species host diverse associated communities by ameliorating environmental stress. The strength of this facilitative effect can be highly dependent on the underlying biotic and abiotic context. We investigated community level patterns of macrofauna associated with and adjacent to the marine foundation species eelgrass (Zostera marina) along a hydrodynamic stress gradient. We could demonstrate that the relative importance of this foundation species for its infaunal community increases with environmental variables associated with increasing hydrodynamic stress (depth, sand ripples formation, sediment grain size and organic content). Faunal assemblages in proximity to the Zostera patch edges, however, showed no (infauna) or negative (epifauna) response to hydrodynamic stress. Our study highlights that the facilitative outcome of a foundation species is conditional to the faunal assemblage in question and can be highly variable even between positions within the habitat.

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