Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2445/50885
Title: The Mediterranean benthic herbivores show diverse responses to extreme storm disturbances
Author: Pagès Fauria, Jordi
Gera, Alessandro
Romero, Javier (Romero Martinengo)
Farina, S.
García-Rubies, Antoni
Hereu Fina, Bernat
Alcoverro i Pedrola, Teresa
Keywords: Ecologia marina
Herbívors
Mediterrània (Mar)
Ecosistemes
Marine ecology
Herbivores
Mediterranean Sea
Biotic communities
Issue Date: 7-Jun-2013
Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Abstract: Catastrophic storms have been observed to be one of the major elements in shaping the standing structure of marine benthic ecosystems. Yet, little is known about the effect of catastrophic storms on ecosystem processes. Specifically, herbivory is the main control mechanism of macrophyte communities in the Mediterranean, with two main key herbivores: the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus and the fish Sarpa salpa. Consequently, the effects of extreme storm events on these two herbivores (at the population level and on their behaviour) may be critical for the functioning of the ecosystem. With the aim of filling this gap, we took advantage of two parallel studies that were conducted before, during and after an unexpected catastrophic storm event. Specifically, fish and sea urchin abundance were assessed before and after the storm in monitored fixed areas (one site for sea urchin assessment and 3 sites for fish visual transects). Additionally, we investigated the behavioural response to the disturbance of S. salpa fishes that had been tagged with acoustic transmitters. Given their low mobility, sea urchins were severely affected by the storm (ca. 50% losses) with higher losses in those patches with a higher density of sea urchins. This may be due to a limited availability of refuges within each patch. In contrast, fish abundance was not affected, as fish were able to move to protected areas (i.e. deeper) as a result of the high mobility of this species. Our results highlight that catastrophic storms differentially affect the two dominant macroherbivores of rocky macroalgal and seagrass systems due to differences in mobility and escaping strategies. This study emphasises that under catastrophic disturbances, the presence of different responses among the key herbivores of the system may be critical for the maintenance of the herbivory function.
Note: Reproducció del document publicat a: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0062719
It is part of: PLoS One, 2013, vol. 8, num. 5, p. e62719
Related resource: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0062719
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2445/50885
ISSN: 1932-6203
Appears in Collections:Articles publicats en revistes (Biologia Evolutiva, Ecologia i Ciències Ambientals)

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