Effects of macroalgal identity on epifaunal assemblages: Native species versus the invasive species Sargassum muticum

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Abstract

Seaweeds are a refuge from stressful conditions associated with life on rocky intertidal shores, and there is evidence that different macrophytes support different assemblages of mobile epifauna. Introduction of non-indigenous macroalgae may have a great impact on associated epifaunal assemblages and ecosystem processes in coastal areas. Previous studies have reported conflicting evidences for the ability of epifauna to colonize non-indigenous species. Here, we analyzed epifaunal assemblages associated with three species of macroalgae that are very abundant on intertidal shores along the Galician coast: the two native species Bifurcaria bifurcata and Saccorhiza polyschides and the invasive species Sargassum muticum. We collected samples of each species from three different sites at three different times to test whether variability of epifaunal assemblages was consistent over space and time. Epifaunal assemblages differed between the three macroalgae. Results suggested that stability and morphology of habitat played an important role in shaping the structure of epifaunal assemblages. This study also showed that the invasive S. muticum offered a suitable habitat for many invertebrates. © 2011 Springer-Verlag and AWI.

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Gestoso, I., Olabarria, C., & Troncoso, J. S. (2012). Effects of macroalgal identity on epifaunal assemblages: Native species versus the invasive species Sargassum muticum. Helgoland Marine Research, 66(2), 159–166. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10152-011-0257-0

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