MEPS 466:9-19 (2012)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09941

Patterns of landscape and assemblage structure along a latitudinal gradient in ocean climate

Fernando Tuya1,2,*, Eva Cacabelos1, Pedro Duarte1,3, David Jacinto4, João J. Castro4, Teresa Silva4, Iacopo Bertocci1, Joao N. Franco1, Francisco Arenas1, Josep Coca5, Thomas Wernberg6,7

1CIIMAR, Rua dos Bragas 289, 4050-123 Porto, Portugal
2BIOGES, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 35017, Canary Islands, Spain
3CIAGEB, Faculty of Science and Technology, University Fernando Pessoa, Porto 4249-004, Portugal
4Laboratório de Ciências do Mar, Universidade de Évora, 7521-903 Sines, Portugal Centro de Oceanografia, Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, Lisboa 1749-016, Portugal
5ROC-IUSIANI, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 35017, Canary Islands, Spain
6School of Plant Biology & UWA Oceans Institute (M096), University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia
7Australian Institute of Marine Science, 39 Fairway, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia

ABSTRACT: The Portuguese coast has overlapping distributions of species of both boreal and Lusitanian origins; a large number of cold- and warm-water species have their southern or northern distributional range edges here. A latitudinal gradient in ocean climate, particularly sea surface temperature (SST) and primary production, has been described along this coast. Here, we took advantage of this gradient in ocean climate to explore affinities in the biogenic landscape structure of subtidal shallow reefs (the abundance of habitat patches), as well as in the assemblage structure of macroalgae and associated fishes, between each of 3 regions: Viana do Castelo (41.5°N), Peniche (39.2°N) and Sines (37.8°N). Five reefs were sampled to determine the abundance of biogenic habitats and the assemblage structure of macroalgae and fishes in each region. The structure of the landscape, and of macroalgal and fish assemblages, differed between Viana do Castelo and Peniche and between Viana do Castelo and Sines, but not between Peniche and Sines. Viana do Castelo was the only region with conspicuous kelp forests, while Peniche and Sines were dominated by patches of foliose turf-forming and filamentous algae. Our study revealed an abrupt macroecological change from northern Portugal to central and southern Portugal, suggesting a possible biogeographical reconfiguration and recognition of a wider transitional area from the Atlantic into Mediterranean waters.


KEY WORDS: Latitude · Macroecology · Habitat structure · Assemblage structure · Kelps · Fishes · Rocky reefs · Atlantic Ocean


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Cite this article as: Tuya F, Cacabelos E, Duarte P, Jacinto D and others (2012) Patterns of landscape and assemblage structure along a latitudinal gradient in ocean climate. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 466:9-19. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09941

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