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Benthic assemblages of rock pools in northern Portugal: seasonal and between-pool variability
Iacopo Bertocci, Rita Araújo, Mónica Incera, Francisco Arenas, Rui Pereira, Helena Abreu, Kim Larsen and Isabel Sousa-Pinto

We investigated the seasonal (winter vs summer and within season) and spatial (between-pool) variability of benthic assemblages of rock pools at mid-intertidal level along the shore of Viana do Castelo (North Portugal). Physical traits of rock pools, including size, depth and position along the shore, were also compared between pools. While pools did not differ for any of the examined physical traits, results indicated a clear seasonal difference in the structure of assemblages, including a total of 49 macroalgal and 13 animal taxa. This finding was driven by six taxa that are more abundant in winter (the reef-forming polychaete Sabellaria alveolata, the articulated coralline algae Corallina spp., the brown alga Bifurcaria bifurcata, the encrusting coralline alga Lithophyllum incrustans, the red alga Chondracanthus acicularis and the grazing snails Gibbula spp.) and four algal taxa that are more abundant in summer (the invasive brown Sargassum muticum, the green Ulva spp., the kelp Laminaria ochroleuca and the filamentous red Ceramium spp.). These data provide a new contribution to the knowledge of rock pool systems and have potential implications for monitoring programmes aimed at assessing ecological modifications related to natural and anthropogenic disturbances and for identifying processes responsible for the variability of rock pool assemblages.

Keywords: rock pools, rocky intertidal, seasonal variability, benthos, Sabellaria alveolata, Portugal
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 76(4) : 781-789 Back PDF
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