Rocky intertidal communities have proved to be tractable systems for experimental ecology, contributing much to our general understanding of population and community ecology. Physical environmental factors are usually considered strong structuring elements for these assemblages. In this study, we adopted a mixed model sampling design to study the effects of substratum type and shore orientation (i.e. different wave exposure) on intertidal assemblages of Madeira Island (NE Atlantic) across time. We included both macrofauna and macroalgae and compare their abundance and distribution in boulders and rocky platforms on north and south coasts of the island. Generally, assemblages moderately differed between boulders and rocky platforms whereas orientation had little influence on the distribution of most taxa. A high variability was observed across a range of spatial and temporal scales, suggesting that interactions of both physical variables and biological parameters may be influencing distribution of intertidal organisms. The results obtained provide pioneer quantitative data on intertidal assemblages of Madeira.
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Authors are grateful to Nahir Abraín and Lurdes Ferreira for their assistance during field surveys and to Drs. Gustavo Martins and Juan Moreira for their helpful comments. Finally, this study had the support of Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT), through the strategic project UID/MAR/04292/2019 granted to MARE. The manuscript was substantially improved through the comments and suggestions of two anonymous reviewers. This is contribution #42 from the Smithsonian’s MarineGEO network.
EC and IG were financially supported by post-doctoral grants in the framework of the 2015 ARDITI Grant Programme Madeira 14-20 (Project M1420-09-5369-FSE-000001). PR was financially supported by the Oceanic Observatory of Madeira Project (M1420-01-0145-FEDER-000001-Observatório Oceânico da Madeira-OOM), co-financed by the Madeira Regional Operational Programme (Madeira 14-20), under the Portugal 2020 strategy, through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). JCC was supported by a starting grant in the framework of the 2014 FCT Investigator Programme (IF/01606/2014/CP1230/CT0001). Additional funding was provided from National Funds through FCT-Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, under the projects UID/BIA/00329/2013, 2015-2018 and UID/BIA/00329/2019, and DRCT-M1.1.a/005/Funcionamento-C/2016.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
No animal testing was performed during this study.
Sampling and field studies
All necessary permits for sampling and observational field studies have been obtained by the authors from the competent authorities and are mentioned in the acknowledgements, if applicable.
The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
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Communicated by I. Kjersti Sjøtun
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Cacabelos, E., Gestoso, I., Ramalhosa, P. et al. Intertidal assemblages across boulders and rocky platforms: a multi-scaled approach in a subtropical island. Mar. Biodivers. 49, 2709–2723 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12526-019-01000-7
- Hierarchical design
- Substratum type
- Intertidal communities
- Functional groups