MEPS 232:141-148 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/meps232141

Influence of physical characteristics of coralline turf on associated macrofaunal assemblages

Brendan P. Kelaher*

Centre for Research on Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities, Marine Ecology Laboratories A11, University of Sydney, New South Wales, 2006, Australia
*Present address: Department of Ecology and Evolution, Life Sciences Building, State Universaty of New York, Stony Brook, New York 11794, USA. E-mail:

ABSTRACT: The influences of the physical structure of coralline algal turf on associated macrofaunal assemblages were examined on a rocky intertidal shore near Sydney, Australia. Patches of artificial turf were used in a field experiment to mimic the physical structure of natural coralline turf. After 2 and 4 mo, the macrofaunal assemblages in artificial turf were compared to those in natural coralline turf and several control treatments. The initial development of assemblages in artificial turf was different from that in natural coralline turf. After 4 mo, however, the composition of macrofauna did not differ between natural and artificial turf, although abundances of bivalves and amphipods were significantly greater in artificial turf. Because of the similarities between the macrofaunal assemblages in natural and artificial turf, it is clear that the physical structure of the habitat has a major influence on the biodiversity of these assemblages. Nevertheless, differences between assemblages in natural and artificial turf probably indicate either that there were artefacts associated with the artificial turf or that biological characteristics of coralline turf also contribute to the diversity and abundances of macrofauna.


KEY WORDS: Coralline turf · Habitat structure · Macrofauna · Rocky shore


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