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Does disturbance and their temporal variability impact diversity and stability of marine hart bottom communities on the North East coast of England?

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  • Biology

Abstract

Temporal variability in disturbance regimes is expected to affect the susceptibility/resistance of species to a disturbance and their ability to utilise opened space. The timing of a disturbance event with respect to reproduction and recruitment of a particular species can determine individual survival, competitiveness and population dynamics. High temporal variation of disturbance means that events are clustered in time, with periods in which several disturbance events occur at short intervals, alternating with extended periods without disturbances. Disturbance regimes differing in variability may affect community composition depending on the temporal match or mismatch between the occurrence of disturbance events and temporal biological patterns such as larval recruitment or growth. In our study we investigated the effects of temporal variability of disturbance (intervals between disturbance events) and its intrinsic sequence (the order of disturbance events over time nested within levels of variation) on community composition and diversity of macro benthic fouling communities of the North East coast of England. We found that there were significant effects of disturbances per se on the composition and diversity of the communities. However, there were no effects of either the variability or sequence of disturbance due to the absence of temporal biological patterns during the experiment.

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