Polar Biology

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 89–100 | Cite as

Spatial and temporal variability of the benthic assemblages associated to the holdfasts of the kelp Macrocystis pyrifera in the Straits of Magellan, Chile

  • Carlos Ríos
  • Wolf E. Arntz
  • Dieter Gerdes
  • Erika Mutschke
  • Américo Montiel
Original Paper


Macrocystis pyrifera (L.) C. Agardh is a characteristic macroalga in the Magellan region covering almost 30% of the shallow coastal waters. The focus of this study was to analyse the spatial and seasonal patterns in macrofauna communities associated to the holdfasts of Macrocystis pyrifera at two study sites in the Straits of Magellan, South Chile. In total, 114 species from 10 major taxa were isolated from the holdfasts. MDS clearly separated the holdfast fauna collected in different seasons, with autumn and winter collections being richer in terms of species richness and abundance as compared to the spring and summer situation. MDS also clearly separated the holdfast associated faunas of the two study sites, Bahía Laredo and Fuerte Bulnes. The community structure and species composition of the associated macro-invertebrates and vertebrates appeared rather heterogeneous, probably due to the extremely heterogeneous environmental conditions along the entire coastline of the Subantarctic Magellan region.


Macrofauna Kelp holdfasts Straits of Magellan Chile Biodiversity 


  1. Adami ML, Gordillo S (1999) Structure and dynamics of the biota associated with Macrocystis pyrifera (Phaeophyta) from the Beagle Channel, Tierra del Fuego. Sci Mar 63(Suppl 1):183–191Google Scholar
  2. Anderson MJ, Diebel CE, Blom WM, Landers TJ (2005) Consistency and variation in kelp holdfast assemblages: spatial patterns of biodiversity for the major phyla at different taxonomic resolutions. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 320:35–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Antezana T (1999) Hydrographic features of Magellan and Fueguian inland passages and adjacent Subantarctic waters. Sci Mar 63(Suppl 1):23–34Google Scholar
  4. Arntz W (1999) Magellan–Antarctic: ecosystems that drifted apart. Summary review. Sci Mar 63(Suppl 1):503–511Google Scholar
  5. Barrales HL, Lobban CS (1975) The comparative ecology of Macrocystis pyrifera with emphasis on the forests of Chubut, Argentina. J Ecol 63:657–677CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bernasconi I, D’Agostino MM (1977) Ofiuroideos del mar epicontinental argentino. Rev Mus Arg Cienc Nat Bernardino Rivadavia 5:66–114Google Scholar
  7. Brambati A, Fontolan G, Simeoni U (1991) Recent sediments and sedimentological processes in the Strait of Magellan. Boll Oceanol Teor Appl 9:217–260Google Scholar
  8. Cariceo Y, Mutschke E, Ríos C (2002) Ensambles de Isopoda (Crustacea) en discos de fijación del alga Macrocystis pyrifera (L.) C. Agardh (Phaeophyta) en el estrecho de Magallanes, Chile. Ans Inst Pat Ser Cienc Nat 30:83–94Google Scholar
  9. Castellanos ZJA de (1988–1993) Catálogo descriptivo de la macrofauna magallánica. Partes 1–12. Comisión de Investigaciones Científicas, Provincia de Buenos Aires, ArgentinaGoogle Scholar
  10. Castilla JC (1985) Food webs and functional aspects of the kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, community in the Beagle Channel, Chile. In: Siegfried WR, Condy PR, Laws RM (eds) Antarctic nutrient cycles and food webs. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. pp 407–414Google Scholar
  11. Clarke KR, Warwick RM (2001) Changes in marine communities: an approach to statistical analysis and interpretation. Plymouth Marine Laboratory, 144ppGoogle Scholar
  12. Dahm C (1999) Ophiuroids (Echinodermata) of southern Chile and the Antarctic: taxonomy, biomass, diet and growth of dominant species. Sci Mar 63(Suppl 1):427–432Google Scholar
  13. Darwin C (1909) The voyage of the Beagle. The Harvard classics, vol 29. PF Collier and Son Company, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  14. Davenport J, Davenport J, Davies G (1984) A preliminary assessment of growth rates of mussels from the Falkland Islands (Mytilus chilensis Hupé and Aulacomya ater (Molina)). J Cons Int Explor Mer 41:154–158Google Scholar
  15. 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
  16. Gebauer P, Moreno CA (1995) Experimental validation of the growth rings of Loxechinus albus (Molina, 1782) in southern Chile (Echinodermata: Echinoidea). Fish Res 21:423–435CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gerdes D, Montiel A (1999) Distribution patterns of macrozoobenthos: a comparison between the Magellan region and the Weddell Sea (Antarctica). Sci Mar 63(Suppl 1):149–154Google Scholar
  18. Gerdes D, Hilbig B, Montiel A (2003) Impact of iceberg scouring on macrobenthic communities in the high-Antarctic Weddell Sea. Polar Biol 26:295–301Google Scholar
  19. Ghelardi RJ (1971) Species structure of the holdfast community. In North WJ (ed) The biology of giant kelp beds (Macrocystis) in California. Nova Hedwigia 32:381–420Google Scholar
  20. Gutt J (2001) On the direct impact of ice on benthic communities, a review. Polar Biol 24:553–564CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hobday AJ (2000) Abundance and dispersal of drifting kelp Macrocystis pyrifera rafts in the Southern California Bight. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 195:101–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jones CG, Lawton JH, Shachak M (1994) Organisms as ecosystem engineers. Oikos 69:373–386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Knust R, Arntz WE, Boche M, Brey T, Gerdes D, Mintenbeck K, Schröder A, Starmans A, Teixidó N (2003) Iceberg scouring on the eastern Weddell Sea Shelf (Antarctica): a benthic system shaped by physical disturbances? In: Huiskes AHL, Gieskes WWC, Rozema J, Schorno RML, Vies SM van der, Wolff WJ (eds) Antarctic biology in a global context. Proceedings of SCAR Biological Symposium, Ámsterdam. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, pp 96–101Google Scholar
  24. Lancellotti DA, Vásquez JA (2000) Zoogeografía de macroinvertebrados bentónicos de la costa de Chile: contribución para la conservación marina. Rev Chil Hist Nat 73:99–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Menzies RJ (1962) The zoogeography, ecology and systematics of the Chilean marine isopods. Reports of the Lund University Chile Expedition 1948–49. Lunds Universitets Arsskrift 11, 162ppGoogle Scholar
  26. Montiel A, Gerdes D, Arntz W (2005a) Distributional patterns of shallow-water polychaetes in the Magellan region: a zoogeographical and ecological synopsis. Sci Mar 69:123–133Google Scholar
  27. Montiel A, Gerdes D, Hilbig B, Arntz WE (2005b) Polychaete assemblages on the Magellan and Weddell Sea shelves: comparative ecological evaluation. Mar Ecol Progr Ser 297:189–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mutschke E, Ríos C (2006) Distribución espacial y abundancia relativa de equinodermos en el estrecho de Magallanes, Chile. Cienc Tecnol Mar 29:91–102Google Scholar
  29. Mutschke E, Ríos C, Montiel A (1998) Situación actual de la macrofauna presente en el intermareal de bloques y cantos de bahía Laredo, estrecho de Magallanes. Ans Inst Pat Ser Cienc Nat 26:5–29Google Scholar
  30. Nelson PA (2001) Behavioral ecology of young-of-the-year kelp rockfish, Sebastes atrovirens Jordan and Gilbert (Pisces: Scorpaenidae). J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 256:33–50PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Norman JR (1937) Coast fishes. Part II. The Patagonian Region Discovery reports XVI:1–150Google Scholar
  32. Ojeda FP, Santelices B (1984) Invertebrate communities in holdfasts of the kelp Macrocystis pyrifera from southern Chile. Mar Ecol Progr Ser 16:65–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Prieto X (1992) Caracterización de sedimentos costeros en el estrecho de Magallanes. Inf Tec Inst Pat 63:64–89Google Scholar
  34. Retamal MA (1974) Contribución al conocimiento de los crustáceos decápodos de la región magallánica. Gayana (Zool) 31:23ppGoogle Scholar
  35. Rozbaczylo N (1985) Los anélidos poliquetos de Chile. Índice sinonímico y distribución geográfica de especies. Monografías Biológicas N°3 (Fac. de Cs. Biológicas P. U. Católica de Chile). 284ppGoogle Scholar
  36. Santana A, Calderón J, Butorovic N (2001) Características climatológicas del área de bahía Laredo, Magallanes, Chile. Ans Inst Pat Ser Cienc Nat 29:55–68Google Scholar
  37. Santelices B (1989) Algas marinas de Chile. Distribución, ecología, utilización y diversidad. Ediciones Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago-ChileGoogle Scholar
  38. Santelices B, Ojeda FP (1984) Population dynamics of coastal forests of Macrocystis pyrifera in Puerto Toro, Isla Navarino, Southern Chile. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 14:175–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Smith SDA (2000) Evaluating stress in rocky shore and shallow reef habitats using the macrofauna of kelp holdfasts. J Aquat Ecosyst Stress Recov 7:259–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Smith SDA, Simpson RD, Cairns SC (1996) The macrofaunal community of Ecklonia radiate holdfasts: description of the faunal assemblage and variation associated with differences in holdfast volume. Aust J Ecol 21:81–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 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(4):436–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. van Tussenbroek BI (1993) Plant and frond dynamics of the giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, forming a fringing zone in the Falkland Islands. Eur J Phycol 28:161–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Vanella FA, Fernández DA, Romero MC, Calvo J (2007) Changes in the fish fauna associated with a sub-Antarctic Macrocystis pyrifera kelp forest in response to canopy removal. Polar Biol 30:449–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Vásquez JA (1993) Effects on the animal community of dislodgement of holdfasts of Macrocystis pyrifera. Pac Sci 47:180–184Google Scholar
  45. Vásquez J, Buschmann AH (1997) Herbivore–kelp interactions in Chilean subtidal communities: a review. Rev Chil Hist Nat 70:41–52Google Scholar
  46. Vásquez JA, Véliz D, Pardo LM (2001) Biodiversidad de macroinvertebrados bajo las grandes algas. In: Alveal K and Antezana T (eds) Sustentabilidad de la Biodiversidad: Un problema actual, bases científico-técnicas, teorizaciones y perspectivas. Universidad de Concep-ción-Chile, pp 293–308Google Scholar
  47. Viddi FA, Lescrauwaet A-K (2005) Insights on habitat selection and behavioural patterns of Peale’s dolphins (Lagenorhynchus australis) in the Strait of Magellan, Southern Chile. Aquat Mammal 31:176–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Williamson M (1987) Are communities ever stable? In: Gray AJ, Crawley MJ, Edwards PJ (eds) Colonization, succession, and stability. Blackwell, Oxford, pp 353–370Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos Ríos
    • 1
  • Wolf E. Arntz
    • 2
  • Dieter Gerdes
    • 2
  • Erika Mutschke
    • 3
  • Américo Montiel
    • 3
  1. 1.Dirección de Programas AntárticosUniversidad de MagallanesPunta ArenasChile
  2. 2.Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar- and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany
  3. 3.Laboratorio de Hidrobiología, Instituto de la PatagoniaUniversidad de MagallanesPunta ArenasChile

Personalised recommendations