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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 468:85-93 (2012)  -  DOI:

Habitat characteristics and metapopulation dynamics of the copepod Tigriopus californicus

Florian Altermatt1,2,*,**, Annette Bieger2,3,**, Steven G. Morgan2

1Department of Aquatic Ecology, Eawag: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Überlandstrasse 133, Dübendorf 8600, Switzerland
2Bodega Marine Laboratory, University of California, 2099 Westside Rd., Bodega Bay, California 94923-0247, USA
3Institute of Integrative Biology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zürich, Universitätstrasse 16, Zürich 8092, Switzerland
**These 2 authors contributed equally to the study

ABSTRACT: Many organisms live in spatially delimited habitat patches, where local extinctions are compensated by dispersal and recolonization of empty habitat patches. To predict the dynamics of such metapopulations in an era of large environmental changes, it is essential to understand the key abiotic factors affecting local occurrence and temporal variation in patch occupancy. Here, we investigated the metapopulation dynamics of the marine copepod Tigriopus californicus, which is restricted to high intertidal and supralittoral rock pools. We monitored populations of T. californicus in northern California for almost 2 yr and observed pronounced seasonal changes in patch occupancy with >80% population turnover annually. Copepod occupancy depended on the area, depth and desiccation of pools and shore height of pools. Most local extinctions were due to pool desiccation, and the pools with an intermediate desiccation risk and low shore heights were the most frequently occupied. We highlight the significance of both the spatial position of pools (shore height) and their ephemerality in explaining occupancy pattern.

KEY WORDS: Rock pools · Extinction-colonization dynamics · Dispersal · Occupancy

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Cite this article as: Altermatt F, Bieger A, Morgan SG (2012) Habitat characteristics and metapopulation dynamics of the copepod Tigriopus californicus. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 468:85-93.

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