Advertisement

Marine Biology

, 165:115 | Cite as

Thermal moderation of the intertidal zone by seaweed canopies in winter

  • Ricardo A. ScrosatiEmail author
  • Julius A. Ellrich
SHORT NOTES

Abstract

Canopy-forming seaweeds are important foundation species or ecosystem engineers in intertidal habitats. By limiting a variety of abiotic stresses during low tides, algal canopies improve the performance of many understory organisms. The reduction of heat stress through substrate shading and moisture retention has received considerable attention in marine biology. However, the thermal influence of canopies during winter has not been empirically evaluated. Using intertidal fucoid canopies (Ascophyllum nodosum) from Atlantic Canada, we did a field experiment contrasting canopy-covered and no-canopy areas to test the hypothesis that canopies limit low temperatures during winter low tides. During 35 days between January and March, mid-intertidal temperature was often negative near the time of the lowest daily tides, on average more than 1 °C lower on bare substrate than under full canopy cover. The difference between both canopy treatments was higher around spring tides than around neap tides. Temperature on bare substrate was once even up to 10 °C lower than under a full canopy. Previous studies have shown that single occurrences of lethal negative temperatures and frequent occurrences of sublethal temperatures kill intertidal organisms every winter. Thus, our study suggests that, in addition to their bioprotective role during summer, canopy-forming seaweeds might also play a relevant facilitative role during winter.

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.

Funding

This project was funded by grants awarded to Ricardo A. Scrosati by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (Discovery Grant #311624), the Canada Foundation for Innovation (Leaders Opportunity Grant #202034), and the Canada Research Chairs program (CRC Grant #210283) and by a postdoctoral fellowship (#91617093) awarded to Julius A. Ellrich by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

References

  1. Adey WH, Hayek LC (2005) The biogeographic structure of the western North Atlantic rocky intertidal. Cryptogam Algologie 26:35–66Google Scholar
  2. Altieri AH, van de Koppel J (2014) Foundation species in marine ecosystems. In: Bertness MD, Bruno JF, Silliman BR, Stachowicz JJ (eds) Marine community ecology and conservation. Sinauer, Sunderland, pp 37–56Google Scholar
  3. Anderson DR (2008) Model-based inference in the life sciences: a primer on evidence. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ansart A, Vernon P (2003) Cold hardiness in molluscs. Acta Oecol 24:95–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Beermann AJ, Ellrich JA, Molis M, Scrosati RA (2013) Effects of seaweed canopies and adult barnacles on barnacle recruitment: the interplay of positive and negative influences. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 448:162–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bertness MD, Leonard GH, Levine JM, Schmidt PR, Ingraham AO (1999) Testing the relative contribution of positive and negative interactions in rocky intertidal communities. Ecology 80:2711–2726CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bourget E (1983) Seasonal variations of cold tolerance in intertidal mollusks and relation to environmental conditions in the St. Lawrence Estuary. Can J Zool 61:1193–1201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Braby CE (2007) Cold stress. In: Denny MW, Gaines SD (eds) Encyclopedia of tidepools and rocky shores. University of California Press, Berkeley, pp 148–150Google Scholar
  9. Burnham KP, Anderson DR (2004) Multimodel inference. Understanding AIC and BIC in model selection. Sociol Methods Res 33:261–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Collén J, Davison IR (1999) Reactive oxygen production and damage in intertidal Fucus spp. (Phaeophyceae). J Phycol 35:54–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Coombes MA, Viles HA, Naylor LA, La Marca EC (2017) Cool barnacles: do common biogenic structures enhance or retard rates of deterioration of intertidal rocks and concrete? Sci Total Environ 580:1034–1045CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Core Team R (2017) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  13. Dudgeon SR, Davison IR, Vadas RL (1990) Freezing tolerance in the intertidal red algae Chondrus crispus and Mastocarpus stellatus: relative importance of acclimation and adaptation. Mar Biol 106:427–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Government of Canada (2018) Environment and natural resources. https://www.canada.ca/en/services/environment.html. Accessed 18 June 2018
  15. Harley CDG (2011) Climate change, keystone predation, and biodiversity loss. Science 334:1124–1127CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Hunt HL, Scheibling RE (2001) Patch dynamics of mussels on rocky shores: integrating process to understand pattern. Ecology 82:3213–3231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jones CG, Lawton JH, Shachak M (1994) Organisms as ecosystem engineers. Oikos 69:373–386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Loomis SH (1995) Freezing tolerance of marine invertebrates. Oceanogr Mar Biol 33:337–350Google Scholar
  19. McCook LJ, Chapman ARO (1991) Community succession following massive ice scour on an exposed rocky shore: effects of Fucus canopy algae and mussels during late succession. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 154:131–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Morley JW, Batt RD, Pinsky ML (2017) Marine assemblages respond rapidly to winter climate variability. Global Change Biol 23:2590–2601CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mota CF, Engelen AH, Serrão EA, Pearson GA (2015) Some don’t like it hot: microhabitat-dependent thermal and water stresses in a trailing edge population. Funct Ecol 29:640–649CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Murphy DJ, Johnson LC (1980) Physical and temporal factors influencing the freezing tolerance of the marine snail Littorina littorea (L.). Biol Bull 158:220–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pomeroy JW, Brun E (2001) Physical properties of snow. In: Jones HG, Pomeroy JW, Walker DA, Hoham RW (eds) Snow ecology. An interdisciplinary examination of snow-covered ecosystems. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 45–126Google Scholar
  24. Roland W, Ring RA (1977) Cold, freezing, and desiccation tolerance of the limpet Acmaea digitalis (Eschscholtz). Cryobiology 14:228–235CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Scrosati RA (2011) Subarctic shores without an ice foot: low extremes in intertidal temperature during winter. Curr Dev Oceanogr 3:153–160Google Scholar
  26. Scrosati R, Eckersley LK (2007) Thermal insulation of the intertidal zone by the ice foot. J Sea Res 58:331–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Somero G (2007) Heat stress. In: Denny MW, Gaines SD (eds) Encyclopedia of tidepools and rocky shores. University of California Press, Berkeley, pp 266–270Google Scholar
  28. Tide and Current Predictor (2018) Tidal height and current site selection. http://tbone.biol.sc.edu/tide/index.html. Accessed 18 June 2018
  29. Umanzor S, Ladah L, Calderón-Aguilera LE, Zertuche-González JA (2017) Intertidal macroalgae influence macroinvertebrate distribution across stress scenarios. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 584:67–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Watt CA, Scrosati RA (2013) Bioengineer effects on understory species richness, diversity, and composition change along an environmental stress gradient: experimental and mensurative evidence. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 123:10–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Zuur AF, Hilbe JM, Ieno EN (2013) A beginner’s guide to GLM and GLMM with R: a frequentist and Bayesian perspective for ecologists. Highland Statistics, NewburghGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologySt. Francis Xavier UniversityAntigonishCanada

Personalised recommendations