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Title: Interaction between small-scale habitat properties and short-term temporal conditions on food web dynamics of a warm temperate intertidal rock pool ecosystem.
Authors: Dalu, Tatenda.
School of Biology and Environmental Sciences
Keywords: Stable isotopes.;Trophic redundancy.;Substratum.;Salinity.;Seasonality.;Food web structure.
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Elsevier
Abstract: The physical properties of habitats are crucial determinants of community structure with significant effects on food web dynamics. We examined the effects of rock pool physical properties (e.g. pool size, water depth) and short-term temporal (seasonal) change (e.g. temperature, nutrients) on food web structure at small spatial scales (c. 500 m) on the warm temperate coast of South Africa. Using stable carbon and nitrogen isotope signatures, we characterised food web structure with Layman metrics and quantified food web size, defined as the total area in isotopic space occupied by consumer species. The effects of rock pool physical properties and seasonal changes on species counts and food web structure were evaluated using a Bayesian generalised linear mixed model approach. Substratum type, water depth, pool size, phosphate concentrations, salinity and temperature all influenced overall food web dynamics. A winter reduction of sand cover led to a more heterogeneous substratum and a significant increase in species counts, while consumer niche similarity decreased with increasing pool size in summer. The range of δ15N values, or trophic height, was negatively and positively affected by salinity and phosphate levels, respectively. Overall, the effects of pool physical properties on food web structure were moderated by seasonality.
Description: Please note that only UMP researchers are shown in the metadata. To access the co-authors, please view the full text.
DOI: 10.1007/s10750-021-04535-8
Appears in Collections:Journal articles

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