Short-term differences in animal assemblages in patches formed by loss and growth of habitat

Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Austral Ecology, 2010, 35 (5), pp. 515 - 521
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Ecological theory predicts that habitat growth and loss will have different effects on community structure, even if they produce patches of the same size. Despite this, studies on the effects of patchiness are often performed without prior knowledge of the processes responsible for the patchiness. We manipulated artificial seagrass habitat in temperate Australia to test whether fish and crustacean assemblages differed between habitats that formed via habitat loss and habitat growth. Habitat loss treatments (originally 16 m2) and habitat growth treatments (originally 0 m2) were manipulated over 1 week until each reached a final patch size of 4 m2. At this size, each was compared through time (014 days after manipulation) with control patches (4 m2 throughout the experiment). Assemblages differed significantly among treatments at 0 and 1 day after manipulation, with differences between growth and loss treatments contributing to most of the dissimilarity.
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