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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
Article

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

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

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