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Influence of marine allochthonous input on sandy beach communities
Colombini, I.; Chelazzi, L. (2003). Influence of marine allochthonous input on sandy beach communities. Oceanogr. Mar. Biol. Ann. Rev. 41: 115-159
In: Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review. Aberdeen University Press/Allen & Unwin: London. ISSN 0078-3218, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

    Beaches; Community composition; Detrital deposits; Exploitation; Organic matter; Stranding; Wrecks; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Colombini, I.
  • Chelazzi, L.

    This review provides an overview of the importance of beach accumulations of macrophytes and other organic beach-cast material on the ecology of sandy beach ecosystems. It describes the composition of these allochthonous subsidies, their abundance on beaches in relation to seasonal, lunar, tidal and spatial trends, their decomposition and utilisation by bacterial, meio- and macrofaunal communities. The paper then analyses the community structure and the species succession in both macrophyte wrack and carrion and reports the most important findings on individual wrack-inhabiting species (amphipods, isopods, dipterans). Other aspects, such as feeding and microclimatic preferences of certain species and their interactions in wracks, are also discussed. Links to vertebrate species and other secondary consumers that exploit beach-cast macrophytes and carrion as trophic resource are considered, and the importance of wrack in recycling nutrients to nearshore coastal ecosystems is stressed. The beneficial and detrimental effects of organic beach-cast material on both plants and animals of beach and nearshore communities and on the geomorphology of coastal beach-dune systems are pointed out. Another section is dedicated to human use of beach-cast macrophytes through harvesting of economically important species and of other stranded material through its exploitation for traditional reasons. The effects of harvesting on local faunal communities and on the stability of the dunes is discussed. A final section of the paper includes the positive and negative effects of man-made debris on sandy-beach ecosystems and briefly reviews the major findings.

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