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Antofagasta, Chile

Uribe R.A.,University of Antofagasta | Ortiz M.,University of Antofagasta | Macaya E.C.,University of Concepcion | Pacheco A.S.,University of Antofagasta | Pacheco A.S.,Climate Change Ecology Group
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology | Year: 2015

Although kelp beds and barren grounds are conspicuous ecological systems in temperate coastal regions, little is known about how these systems develop throughout succession; neither their trajectories nor their putative seral stages are presently well documented or understood. Herein, we present the results of a field study in northern Chile aimed to investigate the succession development of macrobenthic communities dominated by kelp Lessonia trabeculata and by crustose coralline algae (barren ground). At both sublittoral habitats, ceramic plates were deployed and the process of colonisation was then followed for 14. months with the aim of describing and comparing the successional patterns of the benthic community. At both ecological systems, taxonomic richness, density and percentage of cover increased throughout time, although fewer species colonised the artificial substrate at the barren ground. Many species were common colonisers at both ecological systems; however, the structure diverged as different species were added to each colonising community. Our results suggest that the succession in kelp beds and barren grounds was habitat and community-specific following an early to advance sequence of development. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Uribe R.A.,University of Antofagasta | Ortiz M.,University of Antofagasta | Pacheco A.S.,University of Antofagasta | Pacheco A.S.,Climate Change Ecology Group | Araya R.,University of Antofagasta
Marine Ecology | Year: 2015

In shallow sublittoral rocky habitats of the Southeast Pacific, two conspicuous ecological systems exist kelp beds dominated by large Laminariales algae, and barren grounds dominated by crustose coralline algae and sea urchins. The aim of this study was to examine the successional development of micro-periphyton communities in both ecological systems using a colonization experiment conducted in Northern Chile. In both ecological systems, we installed replicated ceramic plates at 10 m depth and samples were taken after 1, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 14 days of exposure. Bacteria, diatoms, protozoans and small eukaryotes were identified, quantified and analysed. The succession of micro-periphyton communities in both ecological systems followed a common pattern consisting of a net accumulation of functional groups and taxa over time; however, the total density of all groups was significantly higher in the kelp beds. In addition, the community structure of the developing micro-periphytons was different and specific for each ecological system. Although previous studies have suggested that kelp beds and barren grounds are capable of switching from one state to the other without substantial changes in biodiversity, our results show that each of these ecological systems promotes its own successional development, suggesting that they are unique, self-organized entities. This study is the first step towards an understanding of these ecological systems operating independently at this scale of organization. © 2015 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

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