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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 443:285-292 (2011)  -  DOI:

Implications of climate change for macrophytic rafts and their hitchhikers

Peter I. Macreadie1,*, Melanie J. Bishop2, David J. Booth

1School of the Environment, University of Technology, Sydney, New South Wales 2007, Australia
2Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, New South Wales 2109, Australia

ABSTRACT: Most models predicting changes to species distributions under future climate scenarios ignore dispersal processes, despite their importance in determining community structure in both terrestrial and aquatic systems (‘supply-side ecology’). In the marine environment, facilitation of long-distance dispersal of coastal organisms by macrophytic rafts may be severely modified by climate impacts on raft supply, quality, and persistence, and on transport processes. Increasing storminess in the coastal zone, higher water temperatures, and changes in water circulation represent some of the key mechanisms that will directly affect rafts, while increases in herbivore metabolism due to higher water temperatures are likely to indirectly reduce raft longevity through raft consumption. Accurate predictions of climate impacts on coastal biodiversity will be contingent on resolution of factors influencing rafting so that this and other dispersal mechanisms can be incorporated into species distribution models.

KEY WORDS: Rafting · Drifting · Climate change · Dispersal · Connectivity · Range · Macroalgae · Seagrass

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Cite this article as: Macreadie PI, Bishop MJ, Booth DJ (2011) Implications of climate change for macrophytic rafts and their hitchhikers. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 443:285-292.

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