Long-Term changes in low intertidal rocky shore assemblanges in the coast of Cape Peñas (North of Spain)

Low intertidal assemblages dominated in 1977 by Bifurcaria bifurcata and Cystoseira baccata-Saccorhiza polyschides in the North coast of Spain show changes in the structure and dynamics of both assemblages after 30 years. A re-survey done in 2007 detected phenological changes affecting the annual cycle of dominant canopy species. B. bifurcata has shortened its growth period and underwent a decrease in biomass, while C. baccata lengthen its period of growth and increased its biomass. Also important were the disappearance of Saccorhiza polyschides and the increase of Cystoseira tamariscifolia. These changes affect the rest of the species of the assemblages, with a shift in the main understory species and an increase in crustose coralline algae although the overall biomass of the subcanopy was similar. The species richness shows a sharp increase, at the expense of increasing epiphytes and simpler functional and morphological groups. These biological changes agree with Superficial Seawater Temperature and the relaxation of the summer upwelling trends affecting the North coast of Spain, but the results were unexpected in the case of Bifurcaria bifurcata.

Promotor(s) & Supervisor: Consolación Fernández

ISCED Categories

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0511 - Biology", "0521 - Ecology