Testing Habitat Complexity as a Control over Bryozoan Colonial Growth Form and Species Distribution
The aim of this study is to test the effects of fine scale (microhabitat) environmental variation on the distribution of bryozoan species and potential variation in growth habit diversity and disparity. Data are derived from six microhabitats in replicate, on designed apparatuses, providing surfaces of varied complexity and orientation. The apparatuses were deployed on a sediment substrate at 24 m depth offshore of Rovinj, Croatia and recovered 14 months later. Species distributions were documented for each microhabitat and indexed for relative abundance. Twenty-five bryozoan species were recorded in multiple 0.5 × 0.5 cm cells in multiple patches on each microhabitat. Species richness was relatively uniform in each microhabitat, but most individual species and several growth habit attributes differed in abundance or presence among microhabitats.
KeywordsRecruitment Species richness Growth habit Ecology Adriatic Sea
We thank M. Novosel and A. Novosel for their help and advice in acquiring materials for constructing the experimental apparatuses. This research was supported by a Fulbright Research Fellowship to SJH, and the University Research Council of Appalachian State University.
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