Marine Biology

, Volume 160, Issue 12, pp 3209–3219 | Cite as

Limited change in the diversity and structure of subtidal communities over four decades

  • Robin Elahi
  • Charles Birkeland
  • Kenneth P. Sebens
  • Kevin R. Turner
  • Timothy R. Dwyer
Original Paper

Abstract

A unique archive of photographs from 1969 to 1974 permitted a test of the hypothesis that the diversity and composition of contemporary epilithic communities on subtidal rock walls in the San Juan Islands, WA, USA, has changed over 40 years. Notably, the richness and diversity of sessile taxa was significantly higher in 2008–2011. Furthermore, the multivariate community structure of sessile and mobile taxa differed between the historic and modern eras. Historic communities were characterized by a high percent cover of bare rock and non-calcified algal crusts, consistent with the effects of grazing by chitons and urchins. The rate of sessile community turnover, an index less susceptible to spatial sampling artifacts than richness or diversity, was not significantly different between the two eras. Together with the naturally high spatial variability in these epilithic communities, and the limited replication of historic quadrats, we interpret cautiously the data as evidence of limited change despite a clear shift in temperature and predator (fish) guild composition. The lack of substantial change in rock wall communities may be due in part to their vertical topography, which limits physical disturbance and the preemption of space by weedy algae, two processes that are often associated with “phase-shifts” in other marine ecosystems.

Supplementary material

227_2013_2308_MOESM1_ESM.docx (562 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 562 kb)

References

  1. Anderson MJ (2001) A new method for non-parametric multivariate analysis of variance. Aust Ecol 26:32–46Google Scholar
  2. Anderson MJ (2006) Distance-based tests for homogeneity of multivariate dispersions. Biometrics 62:245–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson MJ, Gorley RN, Clarke KR (2008) PERMANOVA+ for PRIMER: guide to software and statistical methods. PRIMER-E Ltd, PlymouthGoogle Scholar
  4. Bakker J (2008) Increasing the utility of indicator species analysis. J Appl Ecol 45:1829–1835CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bates DM, Maechler M, Bolker B (2011) lme4: linear mixed-effects models using S4 classes. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  6. Baynes TW (1999) Factors structuring a subtidal encrusting community in the southern Gulf of California. Bull Mar Sci 64:419–450Google Scholar
  7. Beaudreau AH, Essington TE (2007) Spatial, temporal, and ontogenetic patterns of predation on rockfishes by lingcod. Trans Am Fish Soc 136:1438–1452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Britton-Simmons KH (2004) Direct and indirect effects of the introduced alga Sargassum muticum on benthic, subtidal communities of Washington State, USA. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 277:61–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Britton-Simmons KH (2006) Functional group diversity, resource preemption and the genesis of invasion resistance in a community of marine algae. Oikos 113:395–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bruno JF, Selig ER (2007) Regional decline of coral cover in the Indo-Pacific: timing, extent, and subregional comparisons. PLoS One 2:e711. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000711 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bruno JF, Witman JD (1996) Defense mechanisms of scleractinian cup corals against overgrowth by colonial invertebrates. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 207:229–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Byrnes JE, Reynolds PL, Stachowicz JJ (2007) Invasions and extinctions reshape coastal marine food webs. PLoS One 2:e295. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000295 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Carter SK, VanBlaricom GR (2002) Effects of experimental harvest on red sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus franciscanus) in northern Washington. Fish Bull 100:662–673Google Scholar
  14. Clarke KR, Green RH (1988) Statistical design and analysis for a ‘biological effects’ study. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 46:213–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Clarke KR, Somerfield PJ, Chapman MG (2006) On resemblance measures for ecological studies, including taxonomic dissimilarities and a zero-adjusted Bray–Curtis coefficient for denuded assemblages. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 330:55–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Colvard NB, Edmunds PJ (2011) Decadal-scale changes in abundance of non-scleractinian invertebrates on a Caribbean coral reef. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 397:153–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Connell JH, Hughes TP, Wallace CC, Tanner JE, Harms KE, Kerr AM (2004) A long-term study of competition and diversity of corals. Ecol Monogr 74:179–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Connell SD, Russell BD, Turner DJ, Shepherd SA, Kildea T, Miller D, Airoldi L, Cheshire A (2008) Recovering a lost baseline: missing kelp forests from a metropolitan coast. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 360:63–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Connell SD, Russell BD, Irving AD (2011) Can strong consumer and producer effects be reconciled to better forecast ‘catastrophic’ phase-shifts in marine ecosystems? J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 400:296–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dayton PK, Tegner MJ, Edwards PB, Riser KL (1998) Sliding baselines, ghosts, and reduced expectations in kelp forest communities. Ecol Appl 8:309–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dethier MN, Graham ES, Cohen S, Tear LM (1993) Visual versus random-point percent cover estimations: ‘objective’ is not always better. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 96:93–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Dijkstra JA, Westerman EL, Harris LG (2011) The effects of climate change on species composition, succession and phenology: a case study. Global Change Biol 17:2360–2369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dufrêne M, Legendre P (1997) Species assemblages and indicator species: the need for a flexible approach. Ecol Monogr 67:345–366Google Scholar
  24. Duggins DO, Eckman JE, Siddon CE, Klinger T (2001) Interactive roles of mesograzers and current flow in survival of kelps. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 223:143–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Duggins DO, Eckman JE, Siddon CE, Klinger T (2003) Population, morphometric and biomechanical studies of three understory kelps along a hydrodynamic gradient. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 265:57–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Elahi R, Sebens KP (2012) Consumers mediate natural variation between prey richness and resource use. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 452:131–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gardner TA, Côté IM, Gill JA, Grant A, Watkinson AR (2003) Long-term region-wide declines in Caribbean corals. Science 301:958–960CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Glasby TM (1999) Effects of shading on subtidal epibiotic assemblages. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 234:275–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Grey EK (2009) Scale-dependent relationships between native richness, resource stability and exotic cover in dock fouling communities of Washington, USA. Divers Distrib 15:1073–1080CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Harley CDG (2011) Climate change, keystone predation, and biodiversity loss. Science 334:1124–1127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hooper DU, Adair EC, Cardinale BJ, Byrnes JEK, Hungate BA, Matulich KL, Gonzalez A, Duffy JE, Gamfeldt L, O’Connor MI (2012) A global synthesis reveals biodiversity loss as a major driver of ecosystem change. Nature 486:105–108Google Scholar
  32. Hughes TP (1994) Catastrophes, phase shifts, and large-scale degradation of a Caribbean coral reef. Science 265:1547–1551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Jackson JBC, Kirby MX, Berger WH, Bjorndal KA, Botsford LW, Bourque BJ, Bradbury RH, Cooke R, Erlandson J, Estes JA, Hughes TP, Kidwell S, Lange CB, Lenihan HS, Pandolfi JM, Peterson CH, Steneck RS, Tegner MJ, Warner RR (2001) Historical overfishing and the recent collapse of coastal ecosystems. Science 293:629–638CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kim T-W, Lee K, Feely RA, Sabine CL, Chen C-TA, Jeong HJ, Kim KY (2010) Prediction of Sea of Japan (East Sea) acidification over the past 40 years using a multiparameter regression model. Global Biogeochem Cy 24:GB3005. doi:10.1029/2009GB003637 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kozloff EN (1993) Seashore life of the northern Pacific coast. University of Washington Press, SeattleGoogle Scholar
  36. Magurran AE, Baillie SR, Buckland ST, Dick JM, Elston DA, Scott EM, Smith RI, Somerfield PJ, Watt AD (2010) Long-term datasets in biodiversity research and monitoring: assessing change in ecological communities through time. Trends Ecol Evol 25:574–582CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mauzey KP, Birkeland C, Dayton PK (1968) Feeding behavior of asteroids and escape responses of their prey in the Puget Sound region. Ecology 49:603–619CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Miller RJ, Etter RJ (2011) Rock walls: small-scale diversity hotspots in the subtidal Gulf of Maine. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 425:153–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Moritz C, Patton JL, Conroy CJ, Parra JL, White GC, Beissinger SR (2008) Impact of a century of climate change on small-mammal communities in Yosemite National Park, USA. Science 322:261–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Myers RA, Worm B (2003) Rapid worldwide depletion of predatory fish communities. Nature (London) 423:280–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Myers P, Lundrigan BL, Hoffman SMG, Haraminac AP, Seto SH (2009) Climate-induced changes in the small mammal communities of the Northern Great Lakes Region. Global Change Biol 15:1434–1454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Norton SF (1991) Habitat use and community structure in an assemblage of cottid fishes. Ecology 72:2181–2192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Oksanen J, Blanchet FG, Kindt R, Legendre P, Minchin P, O’Hara RB, Simpson GL, Solymos P, Stevens MHH, Wagner H (2011) Vegan: community ecology packageGoogle Scholar
  44. Pacunski RE, Palsson WA (2001) Macro- and micro-habitat relationships of adult and sub-adult rockfish, lingcod, and kelp greenling in Puget Sound, OlympiaGoogle Scholar
  45. Paine RT, Trimble AC (2004) Abrupt community change on a rocky shore—biological mechanisms contributing to the potential formation of an alternative state. Ecol Lett 7:441–445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Palsson WA, Tsou T-S, Bargmann GG, Buckley RM, West JE, Mills ML, Cheng YW, Pacunski RE (2009) The biology and assessment of rockfishes in Puget Sound, OlympiaGoogle Scholar
  47. Pandolfi JM, Bradbury RH, Sala E, Hughes TP, Bjorndal KA, Cooke RG, McArdle D, McClenachan L, Newman MJH, Paredes G, Warner RR, Jackson JBC (2003) Global trajectories of the long-term decline of coral reef ecosystems. Science 301:955–958CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Parmesan C (2006) Ecological and evolutionary responses to recent climate change. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 37:637–669CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Pfister CA, Bradbury AB (1996) Harvesting red sea urchins: recent effects and future predictions. Ecol Appl 6:298–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Quinn GP, Keough MJ (2002) Experimental design and data analysis for biologists. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. R Development Core Team (2012) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, AustriaGoogle Scholar
  52. Richards LJ (1987) Copper rockfish (Sebastes caurinus) and quillback rockfish (Sebastes maliger) habitat in the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia. Can J Zool 65:3188–3191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sagarin RD, Barry JP, Gilman SE, Baxter CH (1999) Climate-related change in an intertidal community over short and long time scales. Ecol Monogr 69:465–490CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sorte CJB, Stachowicz JJ (2011) Patterns and processes of compositional change in a California epibenthic community. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 435:63–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sorte CJB, Fuller A, Bracken MES (2010) Impacts of a simulated heat wave on composition of a marine community. Oikos 119:1909–1918CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Steneck RS, Graham MH, Bourque BJ, Corbett D, Erlandson JM, Estes JA, Tegner MJ (2002) Kelp forest ecosystems: biodiversity, stability, resilience and future. Environ Conserv 29:436–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Terlizzi A, Benedetti-Cecchi L, Bevilacqua S, Fraschetti S, Guidetti P, Anderson MJ (2005) Multivariate and univariate asymmetrical analyses in environmental impact assessment: a case study of Mediterranean subtidal sessile assemblages. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 289:27–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Vadas RL (1977) Preferential feeding: an optimization strategy in sea urchins. Ecol Monogr 47:337–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Watanabe JM, Harrold C (1991) Destructive grazing by sea urchins Strongylocentrotus spp. in a central California kelp forest: potential roles of recruitment, depth, and predation. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 71:125–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wootton JT, Pfister CA, Forester JD (2008) Dynamic patterns and ecological impacts of declining ocean pH in a high resolution multi-year dataset. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:18848–18853CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Young CM (1985) Abundance patterns of subtidal solitary ascidians in the San Juan Islands, Washington, as influenced by food preferences of the predatory snail Fusitriton oregonensis. Mar Biol 84:309–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin Elahi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Charles Birkeland
    • 3
  • Kenneth P. Sebens
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Kevin R. Turner
    • 1
    • 2
  • Timothy R. Dwyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Friday Harbor LaboratoriesUniversity of WashingtonFriday HarborUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of WashingtonFriday HarborUSA
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of Hawai’i at ManoaHonoluluUSA
  4. 4.School of Aquatic and Fisheries SciencesUniversity of WashingtonFriday HarborUSA

Personalised recommendations