Advertisement

Marine Biology

, Volume 147, Issue 5, pp 1075–1083 | Cite as

The response of encrusting coralline algae to canopy loss: an independent test of predictions on an Antarctic coast

  • Andrew D. IrvingEmail author
  • Sean D. Connell
  • Emma L. Johnston
  • Adele J. Pile
  • Bronwyn M. Gillanders
Research Article

Abstract

We assessed whether published observations of the ecology of encrusting coralline algae (Rhodophyta) from tropical and temperate coasts could be used to predict patterns and responses on a polar coast where such knowledge does not exist. On subtidal rocky coasts near Casey, East Antarctica, we detected a strong positive association of understorey encrusting coralline algae with canopies formed by the endemic alga Himantothallus grandifolius. The experimental removal of H. grandifolius caused corallines to bleach from red to pink/white concomitant with a decline in their photosynthetic activity. The magnitude of this decline (mean ± SE = 56.85±8.43%) was remarkably similar to that observed on temperate coasts (45.98±5.91%). Positive effects of nutrient enrichment of the surrounding water, hypothesized to alleviate the negative effects of canopy loss on encrusting corallines, were not detected. Removing H. grandifolius increased the intensity of photosynthetically active radiation and ultra-violet radiation reaching the substratum by three orders of magnitude, providing the basis for models invoking enhanced irradiance as the primary cause of the negative effects of canopy loss. Striking similarities among our results and those from tropical and temperate coasts suggest that responses of encrusting corallines to loss of canopies may have predictive properties across large distances and environmental gradients (tropical–temperate–polar).

Keywords

Photosynthetic Activity Nutrient Enrichment Total Percentage Cover Polar Coast Ambient Nutrient Concentration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

Enduring extreme conditions and challenging circumstances to complete this research was made possible by dedicated field support from Colin Hodson, Ed Forbes, Kate Stuart and Rob ‘Jibba’ Nixon. Thanks go to the station leader and our fellow expeditioners at Casey for their hospitality and friendship, and to the Australian Antarctic Division for their professional advice and logistical support. We thank the captains and crews of the ships Vasiliy Golovnin and Aurora Australis, which provided transport. Useful suggestions from three anonymous reviewers improved the manuscript. This research was supported by an Australian Antarctic Science Grant (2300) awarded to A.J.P., S.D.C. and B.M.G, and an Australian Research Council grant and Queen Elizabeth II Fellowships to S.D.C. and B.M.G.

References

  1. Amsler CD, Rowley RJ, Laur DR, Quetin LB, Ross RM (1995) Vertical distribution of Antarctic peninsular macroalgae cover: cover, biomass and species composition. Phycologia 34:424–430Google Scholar
  2. Australian Bureau of Meteorology (2005) http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_300017.shtml
  3. Barnes DKA (1999) The influence of ice on polar nearshore benthos. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 79:401–407CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beer S, Vilenkin B, Weil A, Veste M, Susel L, Eshel A (1998) Measuring photosynthetic rates in seagrasses by pulse amplitude modulated (PAM) fluorometry. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 174:293–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Benedetti-Cecchi L, Pannacciulli F, Bulleri F, Moschella PS, Airoldi L, Relini G, Cinelli F (2001) Predicting the consequences of anthropogenic disturbance: large-scale effects of loss of canopy algae on rocky shores. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 214:137–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brouwer PEM, Geilen EFM, Gremmen NJM, van Lent F (1995) Biomass, cover and zonation pattern of sublittoral macroalgae at Signy Island, South Orkney Islands, Antarctica. Bot Mar 38:259–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chapman ARO, Johnson CR (1990) Disturbance and organization of macroalgal assemblages in the Northwest Atlantic. Hydrobiologia 192:77–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chisholm JRM (2003) Primary productivity of reef-building crustose coralline algae. Limnol Oceanogr 48:1376–1387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Clark RP, Edwards MS, Foster MS (2004) Effects of shade from multiple kelp canopies on an understorey algal assemblage. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 267:107–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Connell SD (2003) The monopolization of understorey habitat by subtidal encrusting coralline algae: a test of the combined effects of canopy-mediated light and sedimentation. Mar Biol 142:1065–1071Google Scholar
  11. Connell SD (2005) The assembly and maintenance of subtidal habitat heterogeneity: synergistic effects of light penetration and sedimentation. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 289:53–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dayton PK (1975) Experimental studies of algal canopy interactions in a sea otter-dominated kelp community at Amchitka Island, Alaska. Fish Bull 73:230–237Google Scholar
  13. Dayton PK, Tegner MJ (1984) Catastrophic storms, El Nino, and patch stability in a southern California kelp community. Science 224:283–285PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dayton PK, Mordida BJ, Bacon F (1994) Polar marine communities. Am Zool 34:90–99Google Scholar
  15. Edwards MS (1998) Effects of long-term kelp canopy exclusion on the abundance of the annual alga Desmarestia ligulata (Light F). J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 228:309–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fagerström T (1987) On theory, data and mathematics in ecology. Oikos 50:258–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Figueiredo MA de O, Kain (Jones) JM, Norton TA (2000) Responses of crustose corallines to epiphyte and canopy cover. J Phycol 36:17–24Google Scholar
  18. Gorgula SK, Connell SD (2004) Expansive covers of turf-forming algae on human-dominated coast: the relative effects of increasing nutrient and sediment loads. Mar Biol 145:613–619CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gurevitch J, Morrow LL, Wallace A, Walsh JS (1992) A meta-analysis of competition in field experiments. Am Nat 140:539–572CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hawkins SJ, Harkin E (1985) Preliminary canopy removal experiments in algal dominated communities low on the shore and in the shallow subtidal on the Isle of Man. Bot Mar 28:223–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hay ME (1981) The functional morphology of turf-forming seaweeds: persistence in stressful marine habitats. Ecology 62:739–750CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Irving AD, Connell SD, Gillanders BM (2004a) Local complexity in patterns of canopy-benthos associations produces regional patterns across temperate Australasia. Mar Biol 144:361–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Irving AD, Connell SD, Elsdon TS (2004b) Effects of kelp canopies on bleaching and photosynthetic activity of encrusting coralline algae. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 310:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Keddy PA (2001) Extending the generality of field experiments. In: Competition. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp 317–332Google Scholar
  25. Kennelly SJ (1987) Physical disturbances in an Australian kelp community. I. Temporal effects. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 40:145–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kühl M, Glud RN, Borum J, Roberts R, Rysgaard S (2001) Photosynthetic performance of surface-associated algae below sea ice as measured with a pulse-amplitude-modulated (PAM) fluorometer and O2 microsensors. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 223:1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Littler MM (1973) The population and community structure of Hawaiian fringing-reef crustose corallinaceae (Rhodophyta, Cryptonemiales). J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 11:103–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lüder UH, Knoetzel J, Wiencke C (2001) Acclimation of photosynthesis and pigments to seasonally changing light conditions in the endemic Antarctic red macroalgae Palmaria decipiens. Polar Biol 24:598–603CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lüder UH, Wiencke C, Knoetzel J (2002) Acclimation of photosynthesis and pigments during and after six months of darkness in Palmaria decipiens (Rhodophyta): a study to simulate Antarctic winter sea ice cover. J Phycol 38:904–913CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Melville AJ, Connell SD (2001) Experimental effects of kelp canopies on subtidal coralline algae. Aust Ecol 26:102–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Peters RH (1991) A critique for ecology. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  32. Quartino ML, Klöser H, Schloss IR, Wiencke C (2001) Biomass and associations of benthic marine macroalgae from the inner Potter Cover (King George Island, Antarctica) related to depth and substrate. Polar Biol 24:349–355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ramus J, Beale SI, Mauzerall D (1976) Correlation of changes in pigment content with photosynthetic capacity of seaweeds as a function of water depth. Mar Biol 37:231–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Roberts RD, Kühl M, Glud RN, Rysgaard S (2002) Primary production of crustose coralline red algae in a high Arctic fjord. J Phycol 38:273–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Russell BD, Connell SD (2005) A novel interaction between nutrients and grazers alters relative dominance of marine habitats. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 289:5–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Smith JE, Smith CM, Hunter CL (2001) An experimental analysis of the effects of herbivory and nutrient enrichment on benthic community dynamics on a Hawaiian reef. Coral Reefs 19:332–342Google Scholar
  37. Sousa WP (2001) Natural disturbance and the dynamics of marine benthic communities. In: Bertness MD, Gaines S, Hay ME (eds) Marine community ecology. Sinauer, Sunderland, pp 85–130Google Scholar
  38. Steneck RS, Dethier MN (1994) A functional group approach to the structure of algal-dominated communities. Oikos 69:476–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Thrush SF, Schneider DC, Legendre P, Whitlatch RB, Dayton PK, Hewitt JE, Hines AH, Cummings VJ, Lawrie SM, Grant J, Pridmore RD, Turner SJ, McArdle BH (1997) Scaling-up from experiments to complex ecological systems: where to next? J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 216:243–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Underwood AJ (1997) Experiments in ecology: their logical design and interpretation using analysis of variance. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  41. Underwood AJ, Denley EJ (1984) Paradigms, explanations, and generalizations in models for the structure of intertidal communities on rocky shores. In: Strong DR, Simberloff DS, Abele LG, Thistle AB (eds) Ecological communities: conceptual issues and the evidence. Princeton University Press, New Jersey, pp 151–180Google Scholar
  42. Underwood AJ, Chapman MG, Connell SD (2000) Observations in ecology: you can’t make progress on the processes without understanding the patterns. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 250:97–115CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Valentine JP, Johnson CR (2004) Establishment of the introduced kelp Undaria pinnatifida following dieback of the native macroalga Phyllospora comosa in Tasmania, Australia. Mar Freshw Res 55:223–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Vitousek PM, Mooney HA, Lubchenco J, Melillo JM (1997) Human domination of Earth’s ecosystems. Science 277:494–499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wiencke C, Clayton MN (2002) Antarctic seaweeds. ARG Ganter Verlag, Ruggell/LichtensteinGoogle Scholar
  46. Witman JD, Dayton PK (2001) Rocky subtidal communities. In: Bertness MD, Gaines SD, Hay ME (eds) Marine community ecology. Sinauer Associates Inc, Sunderland, pp 339–366Google Scholar
  47. Worm B, Lotze HK, Boström C, Engkvist R, Labanauskas V, Sommer U (1999) Marine diversity shift linked to interactions among grazers, nutrients and propagule banks. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 185:309–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Worm B, Reusch TBH, Lotze HK (2000) In situ nutrient enrichment: methods for marine benthic ecology. Internat Rev Hydrobiol 85:359–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew D. Irving
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sean D. Connell
    • 1
  • Emma L. Johnston
    • 2
  • Adele J. Pile
    • 3
  • Bronwyn M. Gillanders
    • 1
  1. 1.Southern Seas Ecology Laboratories, School of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.School of Biological, Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.School of Biological Sciences A08University of SydneySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations