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A continental scale evaluation of the role of limpet grazing on rocky shores

Record type: Article

It is critical for our knowledge of biodiversity and ecosystem processes to understand how individual species contribute to ecosystem processes and how these contributions vary in space and time. We used a manipulative field experiment in five locations over 17 degrees of latitude [from southern Portugal to the Isle of Man (British Isles)] to determine the relative response of rocky intertidal algal assemblages released from control by the grazing of limpets. Response ratios showed that when limpets were removed there was a trend of effects from north to south. In the north, grazing had a strong effect on algal assemblages, but removing grazers reduced spatial variability in assemblages. In the south, the effect of limpet grazing was far weaker and removal of grazers had a much reduced impact on spatial variability. Here we show a clear trophic control of an ecosystem in that grazing by limpets not only determines macroalgal abundance overall but also modifies ecosystem stability via variability in cover of algae.

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Citation

Coleman, R.A., Underwood, A.J., Benedetti-Cecchi, L.F., Aberg, P., Arenas, F., Arrontes, J., Castro, J., Hartnoll, R.G., Jenkins, S.R., Paula, J., Della Santina, P. and Hawkins, S.J. (2006) A continental scale evaluation of the role of limpet grazing on rocky shores Oecologia, 147, (3), pp. 556-564. (doi:10.1007/s00442-005-0296-9).

More information

Submitted date: 14 March 2005
Published date: March 2006
Keywords: algae, herbivory, biodiversity, meta-analysis, community

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 56845
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/56845
ISSN: 0029-8549
PURE UUID: fbe53e17-dc46-407f-95f6-d0047bff0dd0

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 06 Aug 2008
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:30

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Contributors

Author: R.A. Coleman
Author: A.J. Underwood
Author: L.F. Benedetti-Cecchi
Author: P. Aberg
Author: F. Arenas
Author: J. Arrontes
Author: J. Castro
Author: R.G. Hartnoll
Author: S.R. Jenkins
Author: J. Paula
Author: P. Della Santina
Author: S.J. Hawkins

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