, Volume 107, Issue 3, pp 471-477

Community structure of the rocky shore macrobenthos in southern Hokkaido, Japan

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Abstract

Relationships between community structure and environmental factors were sought through multivariate analysis (quantification analysis and correspondence analysis) of data obtained in a benthic macrofauna survey of a rocky low-tide platform located at Usujiri, southern Hokkaido, Japan. A total of 21 species were found. However, their annual mean abundance was dominated by only a few species. Three dominant species of the platform (Chthamalus challengeri, Littorina brevicula andSeptifer virgatus) accounted for an average of 92% of total abundance. Three environmental factors with associated species groups were examined. Among them, micro-topographic characteristics and wave action defined the main correspondence variables.L. brevicula was a characteristic member of the boulder and sheltered field.S. virgatus was the dominant species of sloped surfaces.C. challengeri, S. virgatus, andMytilus edulis were characteristic of ledge or bench environments. Finally,C. challengeri was characteristic of nip and high wave-exposure environments, given its exclusive appearences in these locations. However, as the degree of exposure depends on the scale of wash through the platform, it is directly limited by the microtopographic properties of low-tide platforms. Specific environmental influences such as exposure and height above the datum-plane were rather disapparent. Any overall effects on the community structure were synthesized by those of microtopography. After complete consideration, it was concluded that the community structure of the macrobenthos in this low-tide platform was found to be primarily under the influence of microtopographic characteristics.

Communicated by M. Anraku, Tokyo