Spatial patterns of diverse macrofaunal assemblages in coralline turf and their association with environmental variables

Cambridge Journals
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 2001, 81 (6), pp. 291 - 307
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Mats of articulated coralline algal turf are common on many rocky intertidal shores. The dense fronds provide a habitat for extremely diverse and abundant macrofaunal assemblages. Despite a large contribution to faunal biodiversity of rocky shores, little has been published about these assemblages. This study describes patterns of distribution and abundance of macrofauna in coralline turf on rocky shores around Sydney. In addition, the potential of environmental variables (sediment, epiphytes, length and density of coralline fronds) for determining these patterns was also investigated. Relatively consistent differences were found between macrofauna in low- and mid-shore areas at all times of sampling and on all shores. Although there was some variation among shores, there was generally significant variation in macrofauna between sites separated by tens of metres. Generally, a relatively small number of taxa were responsible for the great majority of dissimilarity between assemblages. Apart for the small bivalve Lasaea australis, however, these taxa varied between heights on the shore, among times of sampling and among shores. These data illustrate the important contribution that coralline turf has for biodiversity of faunal assemblages on rocky shores around Sydney. They also provide a basis for investigating biological processes and physical factors responsible for structuring patterns of biodiversity of macrofaunal assemblage in coralline turf.
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