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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 517:131-142 (2014)  -  DOI:

Early patterns of recovery from disturbance in intertidal algal assemblages: consistency across regions within a marine province

Gustavo M. Martins1,2,*, Stuart R. Jenkins3, Rubén Ramírez4, Fernando Tuya4, Ana I. Neto1,2, Francisco Arenas

1Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR/CIMAR), University of Porto, Rua dos Bragas 289,
4050-123 Porto, Portugal
2Centro de Investigação de Recursos Naturais dos Açores (CIRN), Departamento Biologia, Universidade dos Açores,
9501-801 Ponta Delgada, S. Miguel, Açores, Portugal
3School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, UK
4Grupo en Biodiversidad y Conservación, Marine Sciences Faculty, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Disturbance and the subsequent rate and pattern of recovery have long been recognised as important drivers of community structure. Community recovery is affected by processes operating at local and regional scales, yet the examination of community-level responses to a standardised disturbance at regional scales (i.e. among regions under different environmental conditions) has seldom been attempted. Here, we mechanically disturbed rocky intertidal lower-shore algal-dominated assemblages at 3 locations within each of 3 different regions within the Lusitanian biogeographical province (Azores, northern Portugal and the Canary Islands). All organisms were cleared from experimental plots and succession followed over a period of 12 mo, at which time we formally compared the assemblage structure to that of unmanipulated controls. Early patterns of recovery of disturbed communities varied among regions and were positively influenced by temperature, but not by regional species richness. Different components of the assemblage responded differently to disturbance. Regional differences in the relative abundance and identity of species had a key influence on the overall assemblage recovery. This study highlights how regional-scale differences in environmental conditions and species pools are important determinants of recovery of disturbed communities.

KEY WORDS: Perturbation · Stability · Community structure · Spatial scales · Species richness ·  Species identity · Algae · Lusitania

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Cite this article as: Martins GM, Jenkins SR, Ramírez R, Tuya F, Neto AI, Arenas F (2014) Early patterns of recovery from disturbance in intertidal algal assemblages: consistency across regions within a marine province. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 517:131-142.

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