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Type: Journal article
Title: Context-dependency in the effects of nutrient loading and consumers on the availability of space in marine rocky environments
Author: Bulleri, F.
Russell, B.
Connell, S.
Citation: PLoS One, 2012; 7(3):1-9
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Issue Date: 2012
ISSN: 1932-6203
Statement of
Fabio Bulleri, Bayden D. Russell, Sean D. Connell
Abstract: Background: Enhanced nutrient loading and depletion of consumer populations interact to alter the structure of aquatic plant communities. Nonetheless, variation between adjacent habitats in the relative strength of bottom-up (i.e. nutrients) versus top-down (i.e. grazing) forces as determinants of community structure across broad spatial scales remains unexplored. We experimentally assessed the importance of grazing pressure and nutrient availability on the development of macroalgal assemblages and the maintenance of unoccupied space in habitats differing in physical conditions (i.e. intertidal versus subtidal), across regions of contrasting productivity (oligotrophic coasts of South Australia versus the more productive coasts of Eastern Australia). Methodology/Principal findings: In Eastern Australia, grazers were effective in maintaining space free of macroalgae in both intertidal and subtidal habitats, irrespective of nutrient levels. Conversely, in South Australia, grazers could not prevent colonization of space by turf-forming macroalgae in subtidal habitats regardless of nutrients levels, yet in intertidal habitats removal of grazers reduced unoccupied space when nutrients were elevated. Conclusions/Significance: Assessing the effects of eutrophication in coastal waters requires balancing our understanding between local consumer pressure and background oceanographic conditions that affect productivity. This broader-based understanding may assist in reconciling disproportionately large local-scale variation, a characteristic of ecology, with regional scale processes that are often of greater relevance to policy making and tractability to management.
Keywords: Seaweed; Marine Biology; South Australia
Rights: © 2012 Bulleri et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
RMID: 0020118147
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033825
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications
Environment Institute Leaders publications
Environment Institute publications

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