Response of fauna in seagrass to habitat edges, patch attributes and hydrodynamics

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Murphy, Hannah M
Jenkins, Gregory P
Hindell, Jeremy S
Connolly, Rod M
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2010
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Abstract

This study has investigated the taxon-specific responses of fauna to patch edges, and how these relate to patch attributes (patch size, seagrass biomass and water depth), and hydrodynamics in the seagrass habitat. Faunal abundances were sampled at the edge, 2 m in from the edge, and in the middle of 10 seagrass patches of variable size in Port Phillip Bay, Australia. Five of nine taxa showed edge effects. There were higher abundances at the edge compared with the middle for porcellid harpacticoids, and an increase in abundance from the edge to the middle of the patches for tanaids and isopods. For caprellid and gammarid amphipods, the edge effect varied across patches. Changes in current within the patch and patch size were related to the variability in the edge effect pattern of caprellids. None of the measured environmental variables (seagrass biomass, current and water depth) or patch size had a role in the variable edge effect pattern of gammarid amphipods. At the patch level, the distribution of six of nine taxa in this study, namely isopods, polychaetes, 'other harpacticoids', porcellid harpacticoids, cumaceans and gammarid amphipods, was related to differences in average water depth, average seagrass biomass and patch size. Our study indicates that the faunal response to edges cannot be generalized across seagrass habitat, and the implications of habitat area loss will vary depending on the taxon under consideration

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Austral Ecology

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35

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5

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Author Posting. Copyright 2010. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Austral Ecology, Volume 35, Issue 5, pages 535–543, August 2010, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1442-9993.2009.02062.x

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Environmental sciences

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Ecology not elsewhere classified

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