Publication Details

Barnes, R. & Hamylton, S. (2013). Abrupt transitions between macrobenthic faunal assemblages across seagrass bed margins. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 131 213-223.


The nature of the transition from one contrasting macrobenthic assemblage to another across interfaces between intertidal seagrass and unvegetated sand was investigated in the subtropical Moreton Bay Marine Park, eastern Australia, via six two-dimensional core lattices. The same pattern of transition was manifested in each lattice. Macrofaunal abundance, species density (both observed and estimated total) and assemblage composition did not vary with distance away from the interface within the 0.75 m wide marginal bands of each habitat type. Neither were there significant differences in assemblage metrics or composition between the marginal and non-edge regions of either habitat. There were, however, very marked differences in assemblage composition, abundance and species density across the 25 cm wide strip on either side of the actual interface, the interacting assemblages reacting symmetrically. All these differences therefore took place over an ecotone distance of only 0.5 m at most. Spatial trends in assemblage metrics across the boundary zone were captured accurately by second and third order polynomial regression models. It also appeared that edge effects on individual species within the seagrass were a variable local response not a consistent effect of closeness to the bare sand.



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