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Ecological dominance along rocky shores, with a focus on intertidal ascidians

Ecological dominance along rocky shores, with a focus on intertidal ascidians
Ecological dominance along rocky shores, with a focus on intertidal ascidians
The role of dominant species is of central importance in ecology. Such species play a key role in ecosystem structure, stability and function, regulating resource allocation across trophic levels and overall ecosystem productivity. Although ecological interactions between dominant and subordinate species are often considered to influence the latter negatively, the presence of dominant species
can also be beneficial. These species commonly act as ecosystem engineers and enhance biodiversity by creating habitat for other species. Along rocky coastlines, dominant species are often sessile suspension-feeding organisms that can monopolize all available substrata. This is particularly noticeable in intertidal and shallow subtidal habitats where the number of species that achieve ecological dominance is limited. Here, we review the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that facilitate dominance along rocky coastlines. We then focus on a prominent example, the members of the Pyura stolonifera species complex (Tunicata), which are an emerging model system for studying ecological dominance. These ascidians achieve the highest biomass levels ever reported in rocky intertidal habitats and, when invasive, can fundamentally transform entire ecosystems. Finally, we discuss conservation implications and conclude with directions for future research.
55-84
CRC Press
Rius, Marc
c4e88345-4b4e-4428-b4b2-37229155f68d
Teske, Peter R.
a85ccc74-7aa3-424c-bf48-2caaecbe0e70
Manriquez, Patricio H.
ae34f100-ec39-4f1b-9a62-8e5123639df9
Suarez-Jimenez, Rocio
f4569249-d703-4dae-8457-23fe97b233f2
McQuaid, Christopher D.
97f8c217-f30c-405c-8cf3-f616208b5008
Castilla, Juan Carlos
999b07c9-7b8f-42be-915b-fd612ad04536
Hawkins, S.J.
Evans, A.J.
Dale, A.C.
Firth, L.B.
Hughes, D.J.
Smith, I.P.
Rius, Marc
c4e88345-4b4e-4428-b4b2-37229155f68d
Teske, Peter R.
a85ccc74-7aa3-424c-bf48-2caaecbe0e70
Manriquez, Patricio H.
ae34f100-ec39-4f1b-9a62-8e5123639df9
Suarez-Jimenez, Rocio
f4569249-d703-4dae-8457-23fe97b233f2
McQuaid, Christopher D.
97f8c217-f30c-405c-8cf3-f616208b5008
Castilla, Juan Carlos
999b07c9-7b8f-42be-915b-fd612ad04536
Hawkins, S.J.
Evans, A.J.
Dale, A.C.
Firth, L.B.
Hughes, D.J.
Smith, I.P.

Rius, Marc, Teske, Peter R., Manriquez, Patricio H., Suarez-Jimenez, Rocio, McQuaid, Christopher D. and Castilla, Juan Carlos (2017) Ecological dominance along rocky shores, with a focus on intertidal ascidians. In, Hawkins, S.J., Evans, A.J., Dale, A.C., Firth, L.B., Hughes, D.J. and Smith, I.P. (eds.) Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review. Boca Raton FL. CRC Press, pp. 55-84. (doi:10.1201/b21944).

Record type: Book Section

Abstract

The role of dominant species is of central importance in ecology. Such species play a key role in ecosystem structure, stability and function, regulating resource allocation across trophic levels and overall ecosystem productivity. Although ecological interactions between dominant and subordinate species are often considered to influence the latter negatively, the presence of dominant species
can also be beneficial. These species commonly act as ecosystem engineers and enhance biodiversity by creating habitat for other species. Along rocky coastlines, dominant species are often sessile suspension-feeding organisms that can monopolize all available substrata. This is particularly noticeable in intertidal and shallow subtidal habitats where the number of species that achieve ecological dominance is limited. Here, we review the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that facilitate dominance along rocky coastlines. We then focus on a prominent example, the members of the Pyura stolonifera species complex (Tunicata), which are an emerging model system for studying ecological dominance. These ascidians achieve the highest biomass levels ever reported in rocky intertidal habitats and, when invasive, can fundamentally transform entire ecosystems. Finally, we discuss conservation implications and conclude with directions for future research.

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Rius_etal2017OceanMarBiolAnnRev
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e-pub ahead of print date: 20 November 2017
Published date: 2017

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Local EPrints ID: 417148
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/417148
PURE UUID: d6fcca75-4647-459f-918f-caa545be2d63

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Date deposited: 22 Jan 2018 17:30
Last modified: 21 Nov 2021 10:15

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Contributors

Author: Marc Rius
Author: Peter R. Teske
Author: Patricio H. Manriquez
Author: Rocio Suarez-Jimenez
Author: Christopher D. McQuaid
Author: Juan Carlos Castilla
Editor: S.J. Hawkins
Editor: A.J. Evans
Editor: A.C. Dale
Editor: L.B. Firth
Editor: D.J. Hughes
Editor: I.P. Smith

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