Patterns and dynamics of context-dependency in the marine rocky intertidal Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/rj4307934

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  • As ecologists are being called upon to predict the consequences of human perturbations to natural communities, an important goal is to understand what factors drive variability or consistency in nature. In the rocky intertidal of San Juan Island, Washington, a comparative experimental approach was used to investigate spatial and temporal variation in community organization. The effect of predation on B. glandula varied dramatically over small spatial scales between microhabitats but was remarkably consistent over time withing a given microhabitat. The effects of predation on S. cariosus varied over time within the same microhabitat. By repeating previous landmark experiments at our study site, and replicating these experiments across microhabitats, the domain of applicability of previous experimental information was greatly expanded. In an early successional assemblage on the Oregon coast, I tested the hypothesis that, when the direct effect of one species on another increases in relative strength, its total effect (direct + indirect) is less variable or conditional than if the link between those species is weak. The effect of strong predation by whelks was less sensitive to the presence of additional species and more consistently dampened natural variation between experimental starting dates and between individual replicates within a given experiment. In contrast, the outcome of weak predation was more spatially and temporally variable in sign, and whether it magnified or dampened differences between individual replicates varied between experiments. Consequently the mean total effect of weak predation generally did not differ significantly from zero. However, in some cases, the range of variation (both within and between experiments) in the effect of weak predation exceeded the magnitude of the strongest total effect observed. Longer term results of the experiments on the Oregon coast examined the role of historic factors in influencing the degree to which successional paths are canalized and repeatable or contingent and variable. Succession in mid-intertidal patches in the mussel bed displayed complex patterns of historic effects that varied between species and between different stages of succession. Despite its potential complexity, this system exhibited some consistent and repeatable patterns of succession. Some important canalizing, or noise-dampening forces in this system included: 1) physiological and life-history constraints, 2) compensatory responses of functionally redundant species, and 3) strong interactions between species.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Patricia Black(patricia.black@oregonstate.edu) on 2012-10-22T22:43:50Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 BerlowEricLayani1996.pdf: 10242709 bytes, checksum: b80ee02eef4fd62dc20a9907309c8bbe (MD5)
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