Effects of grazer richness and composition on algal biomass in a closed and open marine system

Matthiessen, Birte, Gamfeldt, L., Jonsson, P. R. and Hillebrand, Helmut (2007) Effects of grazer richness and composition on algal biomass in a closed and open marine system Ecology, 88 (1). pp. 178-187. DOI 10.1890/0012-9658(2007)88[178:EOGRAC]2.0.CO;2.

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Most natural local systems exchange organisms with a regional pool of species through migration and dispersal. Such metacommunity processes of interconnected multispecies assemblages are likely to affect local dynamics of both species and processes. We present results from an artificial marine outdoor rock pool system in which we investigated the factors of (1) local grazer richness and composition, and (2) connectivity of local patches to a regional species pool, and their effects on algal biomass. Local species richness of six grazers was manipulated in both open and closed pools, which were embedded in a regional species pool containing all six grazers. Grazer richness showed significant net biodiversity effects on grazing in the closed, but not in the open, system. Grazer composition, on the other hand, showed significant effects on grazing in both open and closed systems, depending on which species were initially present. The two most efficient grazers were able to compensate for less efficient grazers in species mixtures, hence ensuring the function of grazing. The efficiency of top-down control of algal biomass in open systems thus depends on which particular species are lost. Further, differences in grazing between the open and closed system changed over time due to temporal dynamics in grazer composition. The results emphasize the importance of including system connectivity in experimental designs to allow an extrapolation of biodiversity ecosystem-functioning relationships to natural systems.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: compensation effect; composition; diversity; ecosystem function; grazing; marine; metacommunity; open system; rock pools; species identity
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
OceanRep > Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1890/0012-9658(2007)88[178:EOGRAC]2.0.CO;2
ISSN: 1939-9170
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2009 13:52
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2017 10:00
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/2283

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