In: Netherlands Journal of Sea Research. Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ): Groningen; Den Burg. ISSN 0077-7579; e-ISSN 1873-1406, more
Also appears in:
Heip, C.H.R.; Nienhuis, P.H.; Pollen-Lindeboom, P.R. (Ed.) (1992). Proceedings of the 26th European Marine Biology Symposium: Biological Effects of Disturbances on Estuarine and Coastal Marine Environments, 17-21 September 1991, Yerseke, The Netherlands. Netherlands Journal of Sea Research, 30. Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Texel. 299 pp., more
Rocky-shore communities on the east coast of southern Africa are subject to intense shellfish exploitation by coastal people. Large-scale removal of sessile species, such as the mussel Perna perna, creates areas of bare rock, providing space for colonization. Rates of recolonization of experimentally-cleared areas in both protected and exploited sites were found to be variable. There was as much as a two-year delay before sessile macro-organisms reappeared, and the course of subsequent succession depended on the nature of the initial colonists. Large spatial and temporal variations in species diversity and richness were observed where it appeared that emergent communities were less stable than adjacent controls. After eight to nine years, few of the cleared areas have developed communities similar to the original or to controls. These results are compared with those of a controlled exploitation experiment conducted in a nature reserve. Similar results were obtained despite the fact that exploitation was more selective for target species and did not involve total clearance. The long-term effects of human exploitation involve shifts in community structure towards earlier successional stages which may persist for long periods of time. Consequently, management options such as rotational cropping may be inappropriate in such a system.