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Associations of forest-type with morphology of Ecklonia radiata and abundance of understorey algae

journal contribution
posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Andrew IrvingAndrew Irving, M Fowler-Walker, S Connell
This study tested for ecological differences between monospecific and mixed-species stands of subtidal canopy-forming algae. At three sites on the northern shore of St Francis Island, we determined the proportional cover of four configurations of canopy-forming algae: (i) monospecific stands of Ecklonia radiata; (ii) E. radiata clumps (≥ 4 individuals) surrounded by species of Fucales (e.g. Cystophora spp. and Sargassumsp p.); (iii) individual E. radiata plants (or clumps of < 3 plants) interspersed among fucoid species; and (iv) fucoid-dominated stands. Mixed E. radiata-fucoid and fucoid dominated stands formed the most extensive typesof canopy, comprising > 94% of forests sampled at all three sites. Using this information, we then tested whetherthe morphology of E. radiata plants and structure of understorey floral assemblages differed between monospecific E. radiata stands and stands of individual E. radiata plants interspersed among fucoids. Themorphology of E. radiata showed no substantial differences between monospecific and mixed stands. The structure of understorey assemblages differed substantially among monospecific, mixed and open habitats (reef without canopy-forming algae). These results suggest that while the morphology of mature E. radiata is not strongly influenced by forest composition, it is likely that understorey algae are strongly affected by the composition and relative covers of species in the overlying canopy.

Funding

Category 2 - Other Public Sector Grants Category

History

Volume

127

Issue

2

Start Page

167

End Page

175

Number of Pages

9

eISSN

1324-1788

ISSN

0372-1426

Location

Australia

Publisher

Royal Society of South Australia

Language

en-aus

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

No

External Author Affiliations

TBA Research Institute; University of Adelaide;

Era Eligible

No

Journal

Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia.