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MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 419:47-56 (2010)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08843

Restoration of the habitat-forming fucoid alga Hormosira banksii at effluent-affected sites: competitive exclusion by coralline turfs

Alecia Bellgrove*, Prudence F. McKenzie, Jessica L. McKenzie, Bianca J. Sfiligoj

School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, PO Box 423, Warrnambool, Victoria 3280, Australia

ABSTRACT: Fucoid algae often dominate intertidal rocky shores, providing habitat and modifying ecosystem resources for other species, but are susceptible to discharge of sewage effluent. In this study we assessed the potential for competition from coralline turfs to inhibit restoration of the intertidal fucoid macroalga Hormosira banksii at sites associated with an ocean outfall a scenario of improving following water quality in the nearshore coastal environment. The percentage cover and number of individuals of H. banksii were negatively correlated with both the percentage cover and turf height of Corallina officinalis. In contrast, H. banksii was positively associated with rocky substrata and recruited well to rock-surface substrata. Importantly, there appears to be a threshold abundance where the percentage cover of H. banksii rarely reaches above 20% cover amongst coralline turfs with >40% cover. These data support a model of alternative community states: H. banksii dominated canopy on rocky substrata versus C. officinalis turf. In field and laboratory experiments, extensive coralline turfs (up to 4 cm thick) were shown to inhibit recruitment of H. banksii. This study shows competitive exclusion by coralline turfs may limit the successful restoration of habitat provided by H. banksii to shores that have been affected by sustained discharge of secondarily treated sewage effluent. We suggest potential strategies for management authorities to consider when seeking ways of restoring fucoid communities affected by anthropogenic disturbances such as wastewater disposal.


KEY WORDS: Hormosira banksii · Restoration · Sewage effluent · Recruitment · Competition · Ecosystem engineer · Alternative stable states


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Cite this article as: Bellgrove A, McKenzie PF, McKenzie JL, Sfiligoj BJ (2010) Restoration of the habitat-forming fucoid alga Hormosira banksii at effluent-affected sites: competitive exclusion by coralline turfs. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 419:47-56. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08843

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