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Patterns of algal recovery and small-scale effects of canopy removal as a result of human trampling on a Mediterranean rocky shallow community
Milazzo, M.; Badalamenti, F.; Riggio, S.; Chemello, R. (2004). Patterns of algal recovery and small-scale effects of canopy removal as a result of human trampling on a Mediterranean rocky shallow community. Biol. Conserv. 117(2): 191-202
In: Biological Conservation. Elsevier: Barking. ISSN 0006-3207, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Milazzo, M.
  • Badalamenti, F.
  • Riggio, S.
  • Chemello, R.

Abstract
    The ecological importance of marine algae is widely known but in shallow coastal areas the composition and structure of algalcommunities may be affected by different human activities. Recovery from different trampling disturbances of two competingmorphological groups (i.e. macroalgae and algal turfs) and effects of macroalgal canopy removal on the dominant associated faunawere examined using controlled trampling experiments. Six months after trampling disturbance was removed, the two morphologicalgroups closely resembled control (untrampled) conditions, both in terms of cover and canopy (%). In particular, macroalgalrecovery seemed to be very rapid: the higher the impact on the system the more rapid the recovery rate. In the short-term, theremoval of macroalgal fronds (i.e. canopy) caused evident changes in invertebrate and crypto-benthic fish densities although theseindirect effects were species-specific. Erect macroalgae are very sensitive to disturbance and even relatively low intensities of humanuse may be non-sustainable for this shallow assemblage. The present findings suggest some interesting options for the managementof Mediterranean rocky shallow areas. This is crucial for coastal areas that are intended to be maintained in natural condition forconservation purposes.

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