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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 567:249-256 (2017)  -  DOI:

Temporal stability in macroalgal assemblage standing stock despite high species turnover

Afonso C. L. Prestes*, Eva Cacabelos, Ana I. Neto, Gustavo M. Martins

Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes (cE3c) / Azorean Biodiversity Group and Universidade dos Açores, Departamento de Biologia, 9501-801 Ponta Delgada, São Miguel, Azores, Portugal
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Species populations are variable in time and space as a response to biotic and/or environmental conditions. However, ecological stability is regarded as an important asset of diversity in natural communities. Here, we followed seasonal variation in a mid-shore rocky intertidal algal-dominated assemblage at 2 sites in the Azores for 1 yr. The assemblage went through significant taxa turnover as a response to the seasonal loss of its dominant species. Yet, assemblage aggregate biomass (assemblage standing stock) remained remarkably stable through the study period. A diverse mixture of algae comprising 77 taxa, including species with contrasting life histories, was found, although only a handful of species appeared to be responsible for ensuring assemblage stability. This study highlights the role of taxa diversity and their compensatory dynamics in maintaining temporal stability in these assemblages. Future direct tests should be done through manipulative experiments to understand the mechanisms underlying community stability in this system.

KEY WORDS: Rocky intertidal · Macroalgae · Osmundea pinnatifida · Biomass · Temporal variability

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Cite this article as: Prestes ACL, Cacabelos E, Neto AI, Martins GM (2017) Temporal stability in macroalgal assemblage standing stock despite high species turnover. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 567:249-256.

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