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Title: Early-faunal colonization patterns of discrete habitat units: A case study with rhodolith-associated vagile macrofauna
Authors: Otero-Ferrer, F. 
Mannarà, E.
Cosme, M.
Falace, A.
Montiel-Nelson, J. A. 
Espino, F.
Haroun, R. 
Tuya, F. 
Keywords: Scallops Aequipecten-Opercularis
Taxonomic Sufficiency
Structural Complexity
Feeding-Behavior, et al
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: 0272-7714
Project: Research and Technology to enhance excellence in Aquaculture development under an Ecosystem approach 
Journal: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 
Abstract: High complexity habitat traits (i.e. high heterogeneity and/or size of discrete habitat units) often promote larger abundances of fauna. Sandy and rhodolith sea bottoms are typically interspersed as mosaics within coastal landscapes. The aim of this study was to experimentally assess the effect of two complexity attributes of rhodolith nodules (i.e. their heterogeneity and size) on the abundance and structure of vagile epibenthic assemblages. An early-colonization experiment was set up (July 2016), where experimental units containing rhodolith nodules of varying heterogeneity and size were deployed at two adjacent recipient habitats: a sandy bottom and a rhodolith seabed. After one month, the abundance of fauna colonizing the experimental units was similar in both habitats, but the assemblage structure (i.e. composition) notably differed. Importantly, the heterogeneity, rather than the size, of experimental rhodolith nodules influenced patterns of vagile macrofauna (> 0.5 mm) colonization, despite the habitat type where these experimental units were deployed considerably influenced colonization patterns. This result reinforces the idea of the importance of rhodolith tri-dimensional structure, as key influencer on faunal communities of nearshore habitats.
ISSN: 0272-7714
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2018.11.020
Source: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science[ISSN 0272-7714],v. 218, p. 9-22
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