Competition, a Major Factor Structuring Seaweed Communities

  • Matthew S. Edwards
  • Sean D. Connell
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD, volume 219)


Competition among marine macroalgae for light, space, and nutrients can be a deterministic force in establishing biogeographic patterns of species distribution and abundance, regulating growth and reproduction, governing how populations respond to disturbances, and structuring coastal ecosystems. However, the direction, strength, and importance of these interactions vary considerably with species identity, location, and time that these interactions take place, and with changes to the physical and biological environment. As a result, many species have evolved special morphologies and/or life history traits that enable them to better access these resources and thus outcompete their neighbors, but these traits often come with trade-offs that may make them more susceptible to environmental stressors. Here, we review some of the main concepts related to how macroalgae compete for resources and provide case studies that demonstrate the importance of competition in structuring benthic communities.


Turf Alga Kelp Forest Macrocystis Pyrifera Canopy Removal Kelp Canopy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologySan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Southern Seas Ecology Laboratories, School of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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