Marine Biology

, Volume 69, Issue 3, pp 263–280 | Cite as

Effects of plant size and distribution on the numbers of invertebrate species and individuals inhabiting the brown alga Pelvetia fastigiata

  • F. C. Gunnill


The invertebrates living on specimens of the brown alga Pelvetia fastigiata, growing in the intertidal zone at La Jolla, California (USA) in November 1975 were enumerated. Within 7 collecting sites, larger plants generally shelter more animal species and individuals than smaller plants. The number of species on a given plant can be described as an equilibrium number; numbers of species and individuals can become similar on defaunated and transplanted algae of comparable sizes placed at the same experimental site. Such equilibria are site-specific because the colonization, immigration and loss rates of animals differ among the sites studied. Relationships between plant size and the number of animal species and individuals on P. fastigiata also differ among the collecting sites. The between-site differences are related to tidal level, to habitat diversity and to habitat patch-size. Small isolated plants without epiphytes shelter few species. The faunas of larger isolated plants at mid-tide levels generally include many thallus-dwelling, tubiculous, vagrant and epiphyte-dwelling species, but few such species commonly inhabit plants within aggregations of P. fastigiata. Within aggregations, the plants host relatively few epiphytes and thus lack habitat diversity, and the net emigration rates of many animals including epiphyte-dwellers are relatively high. Plants within aggregations, however, usually shelter more animal indivuduals than isolated plants. Thus, faunal diversity is reduced, not increased within the largest patches of P. fastigiata.


Loss Rate Animal Species Experimental Site Intertidal Zone Plant Size 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. Abele, L. G. and W. K. Patton: The size of coral heads and the community biology of associated decapod crustaceans. J. Biogeogr. 3, 35–47 (1976)Google Scholar
  2. Atsatt, P. R. and D. J. O'Dowd: Plant defense guilds. Science, N.Y. 193, 24–29 (1976)Google Scholar
  3. Beaver, R. A.: Non-equilibrium “island” communities: diptera breeding in dead snails. J. Anim. Ecol. 46, 783–798 (1977)Google Scholar
  4. Brown, J. H. and A. Kodrick-Brown: Turnover rates in insular biogreography: effect of immigration and extinction. Ecology 58, 445–449 (1977)Google Scholar
  5. Carlquist, S.: Island biology, 660 pp. New York, N.Y.: Columbia University Press 1974Google Scholar
  6. Colman, J.: On the faunas inhabiting intertidal seaweeds. J. mar. biol. Ass. U.K. 24, 129–138 (1940)Google Scholar
  7. Connor, E. F. and E. D. McCoy: The statistics and biology of the species-area relationship. Am. Nat. 113, 791–833 (1979)Google Scholar
  8. Connor, E. F. and D. Simberloff: Species number and the compositional similarity of the Galapagos flora and avifauna. Ecol. Monogr. 48, 219–248 (1978)Google Scholar
  9. Connor, M. S.: Niche apportionment among the chitons Cyanoplax hartwegii and Mopalia mucosa and the limpets Collisella limatula and Collisella pelta under the brown alga Pelvetia fastigiata. Veliger 18 (Suppl.), 9–17 (1978)Google Scholar
  10. Crowell, K. L.: Reduced interspecific competition among the birds of Bermuda. Ecology 43, 75–88 (1962)Google Scholar
  11. Davis, B. N. K.: The colonization of isolated patches of nettles (Urtica dioica L.) by insects. J. appl. Ecol. 12, 1–14 (1975)Google Scholar
  12. Diamond, J. M.: Biogeographic kinetics: estimation of relaxation times for avifaunas of Southwest Pacific islands. Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 69, 3199–3203 (1972)Google Scholar
  13. Diamond, J. M.: Assembly of species communities. In: Ecology and evolution of communities, pp 342–444. Ed. by M. L. Cody and J. M. Diamond. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press 1995Google Scholar
  14. Dony, J. G.: Species-area relationships in an area of interediate size. J. Ecol. 65, 475–484 (1977)Google Scholar
  15. Gilbert, F. S.: The equilibrium theory of island biogeography: fact or fiction? J. Biogeogr. 7, 209–235 (1980)Google Scholar
  16. Glyn, P. W.: Community composition, structure and interrelationships in the marine intertidal Endocladia muricata —Balanus glandula association in Monterey Bay, California. Beaufortia 12, 1–98 (1965)Google Scholar
  17. Grant, P. R., J. N. M. Smith, B. R. Grant, I. J. Abbott and L. K. Abbott. Finch numbers, owl predation and plant dispersal on Isla Daphne Major, Galapagos. Oecologia (Berl.) 19, 239–257 (1975)Google Scholar
  18. Gunnill, F. C.: The effect of host distribution on the faunas inhabiting an intertidal alga, 322 pp. Ph.D. disseration. La Jolla, California: University of California, San Diego 1979Google Scholar
  19. Gunnill, F. C.: Demography of the intertidal brown alga Pelvetia fastigiata in Southern California, USA. Mar. Biol. 59, 169–179 (1980a)Google Scholar
  20. Gunnill, F. C.: Recruitment and standing stocks in populations of one green alga and five brown algae in the intertidal zone near La Jolla, California during 1973–1977. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 3, 231–243 (1980b)Google Scholar
  21. Gunnill, F. C.: Macroalgae as habitat patch islands for Scutellidium lamellipes (Copepoda: Harpacticoida) and Ampithoe tea (Amphipoda: Gammaridae). Mar. Biol. 69, 103–116 (1982)Google Scholar
  22. Hagerman, L.: The macro-and microfauna associated with Fucus serratus L., with some ecological remarks. Ophelia 3, 1–43 (1966)Google Scholar
  23. Hicks, G. F. R.: Structure of phytal harpacticoid copepod assemblages and the influence of habitat complexity and turbidity. J. exp. mar. Biol. Ecol. 44, 147–192 (1980)Google Scholar
  24. Hughes, R. G.: Life-histories and the abundance of epizoites of the hydroid Nemeriesia antennina (L.). J. mar. biol. Ass. U.K. 58, 313–332 (1978)Google Scholar
  25. Janzen, D. H.: Host plants as islands in evolutionary and contemporary time. Am. Nat. 100, 592–595 (1968)Google Scholar
  26. Johnson, R. J.: Variations in diversity within benthic marine community structure. Am. Nat. 104, 285–300 (1970)Google Scholar
  27. Levin, S. A. and R. T. Paine: Disturbance, patch formation, and community structure. Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 71, 2744–2747 (1974)Google Scholar
  28. Lynch, J. F. and N. K. Johnson: Turnover and equilibria in insular avifaunas, with special reference to the California Channel Islands. Condor 76, 370–381 (1974)Google Scholar
  29. MacArthur, R. H. and E. O. Wilson: The theory of island biogeography, 203 pp. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press 1967Google Scholar
  30. May, R. M.: Patterns of species abundance and diversity. In: Ecology and evolution of communities, pp 81–120. Ed. by M. L. Cody and J. M. Diamond. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press 1975Google Scholar
  31. Ogden, J. C. and J. P. Ebersole: Scale and community structure of coral reef fishes: a long-term study of a large artificial reef. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 4, 97–103 (1981)Google Scholar
  32. Opler, P. A.: Oaks as evolutionary islands for leaf-mining insects. Am. Scient. 62, 67–73 (1974)Google Scholar
  33. Osman, R. W.: The establishment and development of a marine epifaunal community. Ecol. Monogr. 27, 37–63 (1977)Google Scholar
  34. Power, D. M.: Similarity among avifaunas of the Galapagos Islands. Ecology 56, 616–626 (1975)Google Scholar
  35. Preston, F. W.: The canonical distributionof commonness and rarity: Part I. Ecology 43, 185–215 (1962a)Google Scholar
  36. Preston, F. W.: The canonical distribution of commonness and rarity: Part II. Ecology 43, 410–432 (1962b)Google Scholar
  37. Rigby, C. and J. H. Lawton: Species-area relationships of arthropods on host plants: herbivores on bracken. J. Biogeogr. 8, 125–133 (1981)Google Scholar
  38. Root, R. B.: Organization of a plant-arthropod association in simple and diverse habitats: the fauna of collards (Brassica oleracea). Ecol. Monogr. 43, 95–124 (1973)Google Scholar
  39. Schoener, A.: Experimental zoogeography: colonization of marine mini-islands. Am. Nat. 108, 715–738 (1974a)Google Scholar
  40. Schoener, A.: Colonization curves for planar marine islands. Ecology 55, 818–827 (1974b)Google Scholar
  41. Seifert, R. P.: Clumps of Heliconia inflorescences as ecological islands. Ecology 56, 1416–1422 (1975)Google Scholar
  42. Sheldon, A. L.: Colonization curves; application to stream insects on semi-natural substrates. Oikos 28, 256–261 (1977)Google Scholar
  43. Simberloff, D. S.: Species turnover and equilibrium island biogeography. Science, N.Y.,194, 572–578 (1976a)Google Scholar
  44. Simberloff, D. S.: Experimental zoogeography of islands: effects of island size. Ecology 57, 629–648 (1976b)Google Scholar
  45. Simberloff, D. S. and E. O. Wilson: Experimental zoogeography of islands: the colonization of empty islands. Ecology 50, 278–296 (1969)Google Scholar
  46. Simberloff, D. S. and E. O. Wilson: Experimental zoogeography of islands: a two-year record of colonization. Ecology 51, 934–937 (1970)Google Scholar
  47. Smith, A. T.: The distribution and dispersal of pikas; consequences of insular population structure. Ecology 55, 1112–1119 (1974)Google Scholar
  48. Tepedino, V. J. and N. L. Stanton: Cushion plants as islands. Oecologia (Berl.) 25, 243–256 (1976)Google Scholar
  49. Ward, L. K. and K. H. Lakhani: The conservation of juniper: the fauna of food-plant island sites in Southern England. J. appl. Ecol. 14, 121–135 (1977)Google Scholar
  50. Whitehead, D. R. and C. E. Jones: Small islands and the equilibrium theory of insular biogeography. Evolution, Lawrence, Kansas 23, 171–179 (1969)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. C. Gunnill
    • 1
  1. 1.Scripps Institution of OceanographyLa JollaUSA

Personalised recommendations