Experimental test of the Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis: Frequency effects of emersion on fouling communities

Lenz, Mark, Molis, Markus and Wahl, Martin (2004) Experimental test of the Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis: Frequency effects of emersion on fouling communities Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 305 . pp. 247-266. DOI 10.1016/j.jembe.2003.12.018.

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The validity of predictions derived from the intermediate disturbance hypothesis (IDH) was tested in situ by manipulating mussel dominated Western Baltic fouling communities. Assemblages of two different successional stages, 3 and 12 months old, underwent a 3-month period of disturbance treatment in terms of various frequencies of emersion. Emersion frequency levels ranged from 1×15 to 48×15 min emersion day−1. The study on the 3-month-old communities was repeated in 2 subsequent study years. Species richness, evenness and diversity (Shannon index) were recorded to measure the effects of frequency treatments on community structure.

The IDH was confirmed in the first year, when diversity was found to be a unimodal function of the applied emersion frequency gradient. Diversity–disturbance relationships were inverse unimodal or non-significant in the second year, which was true for both successional stages. This ambiguous picture partially confirms the validity of the mechanisms proposed by the IDH, but also shows that their forcing can be masked by fluctuations in environmental parameters, such as climatic conditions. Diversity increased again under severe disturbance conditions, due to a disturbance-induced change in community structure, namely the shift from mussel to algal dominance. This is a new aspect in the discussion concerning disturbance–diversity relationships

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Intermediate disturbance hypothesis; Diversity; Disturbance; Fouling communities; Community structure; Mytilus edulis
Research affiliation: OceanRep > Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-B Experimental Ecology - Benthic Ecology
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.jembe.2003.12.018
ISSN: 0022-0981
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2009 10:16
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2017 13:04
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/6053

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