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The clonal seaweed Chondrus crispus as a foundation species
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  • Journal title : ALGAE
  • Volume 31, Issue 1,  2016, pp.41-48
  • Publisher : The Korean Society of Phycology
  • DOI : 10.4490/algae.2016.31.2.10
 Title & Authors
The clonal seaweed Chondrus crispus as a foundation species
Scrosati, Ricardo A.;
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The clonal seaweed Chondrus crispus (Rhodophyta, Gigartinales) forms extensive stands at low intertidal elevations on wave-sheltered rocky shores of the North Atlantic. This study investigates if this bushy alga acts as a foundation species in such habitats. The abundance (percent cover) of C. crispus, all other algae, and invertebrates was measured in 390 quadrats spanning 350 km of coast in Nova Scotia, Canada. In these low-intertidal habitats, fucoid algae are the largest organisms and can form extensive canopies, but their cover was unrelated to benthic species richness and to C. crispus cover. Species richness, however, increased with C. crispus cover from low to intermediate cover values, showing little change towards full C. crispus cover. Species composition (a combined measure of species identity and their relative abundance) differed between quadrats with low (0-1%) and high (60-100%) cover of C. crispus. High C. crispus cover was associated to more invertebrate species but fewer algal species than low C. crispus cover. However, the average abundance of algal and invertebrate species occurring in both cover groups was often higher under high C. crispus cover, contributing to a higher average richness at the quadrat scale. Overall, only 16% of the observed variation in species richness was explained by C. crispus cover. Therefore, this study suggests that C. crispus acts as a foundation species but with a moderate influence.
Chondrus;community structure;foundation species;Gigartinales;intertidal;
 Cited by
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