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Climate-driven substitution of habitat-forming species leads to reduced biodiversity within a temperate marine community

Climate-driven substitution of habitat-forming species leads to reduced biodiversity within a temperate marine community
Climate-driven substitution of habitat-forming species leads to reduced biodiversity within a temperate marine community

Aim: In marine ecosystems, habitat-forming species (HFS) such as reef-building corals and canopy-forming macroalgae alter local environmental conditions and can promote biodiversity by providing biogenic living space for a vast array of associated organisms. We examined community-level impacts of observed climate-driven shifts in the relative abundances of two superficially similar HFS, the warm-water kelp Laminaria ochroleuca and the cool-water kelp Laminaria hyperborea. Location: Western English Channel, north-east Atlantic Methods: We compared algal and invertebrate assemblages associated with kelp stipes and holdfasts, across multiple sites and sampling events. Significant differences were recorded in the structure of assemblages between the host kelp species at each site and event. Results: Assemblages associated with stipes of the cool-water HFS were, on average, >12 times more diverse and supported >3600 times more biomass compared with the warm-water HFS. Holdfast assemblages also differed significantly between species, although to a lesser extent than those associated with stipes. Overall, assemblages associated with the warm-water HFS were markedly impoverished and comprised far fewer rare or unique taxa. Main conclusions: While previous research has shown how climate-driven loss of HFS can cause biodiversity loss, our study demonstrates that climate-driven substitutions of HFS can also lead to impoverished assemblages. The indirect effects of climate change remain poorly resolved, but shifts in the distributions and abundances of HFS may invoke widespread ecological change, especially in marine ecosystems where facilitative interactions are particularly strong.

Benthic communities, Climate change, Ecosystem engineers, Facilitation, Foundation species, Kelp forests, Ocean warming, Range shifts
1366-9516
1-14
Teagle, Harry
90c46dfa-2df2-4bef-b35f-9d5d977787cd
Smale, Dan A.
9be48b19-ad5f-4f40-87c8-e0bfa799584f
Teagle, Harry
90c46dfa-2df2-4bef-b35f-9d5d977787cd
Smale, Dan A.
9be48b19-ad5f-4f40-87c8-e0bfa799584f

Teagle, Harry and Smale, Dan A. (2018) Climate-driven substitution of habitat-forming species leads to reduced biodiversity within a temperate marine community. Diversity and Distributions, 1-14. (doi:10.1111/ddi.12775).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Aim: In marine ecosystems, habitat-forming species (HFS) such as reef-building corals and canopy-forming macroalgae alter local environmental conditions and can promote biodiversity by providing biogenic living space for a vast array of associated organisms. We examined community-level impacts of observed climate-driven shifts in the relative abundances of two superficially similar HFS, the warm-water kelp Laminaria ochroleuca and the cool-water kelp Laminaria hyperborea. Location: Western English Channel, north-east Atlantic Methods: We compared algal and invertebrate assemblages associated with kelp stipes and holdfasts, across multiple sites and sampling events. Significant differences were recorded in the structure of assemblages between the host kelp species at each site and event. Results: Assemblages associated with stipes of the cool-water HFS were, on average, >12 times more diverse and supported >3600 times more biomass compared with the warm-water HFS. Holdfast assemblages also differed significantly between species, although to a lesser extent than those associated with stipes. Overall, assemblages associated with the warm-water HFS were markedly impoverished and comprised far fewer rare or unique taxa. Main conclusions: While previous research has shown how climate-driven loss of HFS can cause biodiversity loss, our study demonstrates that climate-driven substitutions of HFS can also lead to impoverished assemblages. The indirect effects of climate change remain poorly resolved, but shifts in the distributions and abundances of HFS may invoke widespread ecological change, especially in marine ecosystems where facilitative interactions are particularly strong.

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Accepted/In Press date: 20 April 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 1 June 2018
Keywords: Benthic communities, Climate change, Ecosystem engineers, Facilitation, Foundation species, Kelp forests, Ocean warming, Range shifts

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 421408
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/421408
ISSN: 1366-9516
PURE UUID: 982d6463-17fa-4851-be2b-83aa195d726b

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Date deposited: 11 Jun 2018 16:30
Last modified: 16 Dec 2019 18:10

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