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Priority effects on faunal assemblages within artificial seagrass

journal contribution
posted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Andrew Irving, J Tanner, B McDonald
An enduring challenge for community ecologists is to understand how different assemblages of species are derived from acommon pool of potential colonists. Early colonisers can affect the ability of subsequent arrivals to colonise and persist, andthereby influence the development and structure of the resulting assemblage. In two independent experiments, we tested for such historical effects of priority on the assemblages of mobile fauna colonising artificial seagrass initially occupied by epibiota (algaeand sessile invertebrates) and/or predatory Palaemonid shrimp. Multivariate analyses detected strong priority effects of both epibiota and Palaemonids on the structure of faunal assemblages as early as 5 days, and up to 45 days after experimental treatments were established, even though initial conditions (i.e. abundances of epibiota and Palaemonids) had become similar among treatments. The abundances of key taxa, identified by SIMPER analyses as those taxa contributing the most to multivariate differences among treatments, were typically enhanced where epibiota were initially present. In contrast, prior colonisation by Palaemonid shrimp produced subtle and variable effects on individual taxa. Nevertheless, these experiments provide evidence for priority effects and demonstrate how variation in the structure of contemporary assemblages can be intimately linked with key historical events that occurred during their development, but may no longer be apparent. Consequently, our ability to interpret variation among contemporary assemblages may be enhanced when contemporary patterns are viewed within an historical context.

Funding

Category 2 - Other Public Sector Grants Category

History

Volume

340

Issue

1

Start Page

40

End Page

49

Number of Pages

10

ISSN

0022-0981

Location

Netherlands

Publisher

Elsevier

Language

en-aus

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

No

External Author Affiliations

South Australian Research and Development Institute; TBA Research Institute; University of Adelaide; University of South Australia;

Era Eligible

No

Journal

Journal of experimental marine biology and ecology.

Exports