Variations in the configuration of algae in subtidal forests: Implications for invertebrate assemblages
Article first published online: 26 MAY 2004
Volume 29, Issue 3, pages 350–357, June 2004
How to Cite
GOODSELL, P. J., FOWLER-WALKER, M. J., GILLANDERS, B. M. and CONNELL, S. D. (2004), Variations in the configuration of algae in subtidal forests: Implications for invertebrate assemblages. Austral Ecology, 29: 350–357. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2004.01372.x
- Issue published online: 26 MAY 2004
- Article first published online: 26 MAY 2004
- Accepted for publication September 2003.
- habitat structure;
- spatial arrangement
Abstract The ecology of Australia's most extensive canopy-forming alga, Ecklonia radiata, is often studied with little regard as to whether it occurs in monospecific stands or as part of a mixed assemblage of canopy-forming algae. We tested the hypothesis that E. radiata does not primarily occur as monospecific stands, rather it occurs more often in stands of mixed algae. At a 1-m2 scale we recognized three main configurations within forests of algae (hereafter called stands): E. radiata that occurs as (i) monospecific stands; (ii) clumps (four or more individuals together) surrounded by species of Fucales; or (iii) individual plants (or clusters of fewer than three plants) interspersed among species of Fucales. All three types of stand occurred in similar proportions (percentage cover) across two regions of Australia's southern coastline (Western and South Australia). We also tested the hypothesis that these three types of stands (identified at 1 m2) contain different assemblages of invertebrates associated with the holdfast of E. radiata. Assemblages of invertebrates varied between monospecific and interspersed stands, but not between monospecific and clumped stands. These results suggest that variation in the configuration of subtidal algae (stands measured at a 1-m2 scale) has the potential to influence the composition and abundance of associated biota. We suggest that although studies in stands of monospecific E. radiata may provide useful information for the majority of forests containing E. radiata (monospecific and clumped stands made up 65% of forests sampled), caution must be used when extrapolating to stands of mixed, interspersed algae (>31% of forests sampled).