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Ecological periodic tables for bentkhic macrofauna and nekton usage in estuarine habitats
FERRARO, S. P. AND F. A. COLE. Ecological periodic tables for bentkhic macrofauna and nekton usage in estuarine habitats. Presented at 2010 Ocean Sciences Meeting, Portland, OR, February 22 - 26, 2010.
In his presidential address to the British Ecological Society, T.R.E. Southwood (1977: Habitat, the templet for ecological strategies?
In his presidential address to the British Ecological Society, T.R.E. Southwood (1977: Habitat, the templet for ecological strategies? Journal of Animal Ecology 46: 337-365; http://www.jstor.org/stable/3817) compared the situation in ecology to that in chemistry before the development of the chemical periodic table when each fact, for example, the solubility or reactivity of a chemical element, had to be discovered independently and remembered in isolation. Southwood theorized that since ecological strategies evolve from the interaction of the habitat and organisms “a sort of ecological periodic table” might be constructed with a set of habitat characteristics, or “habitat templates,” as the organizing elements. Our research results show that at the whole estuary scale sediment features (sand and mud), the presence of ecosystem engineering species (eelgrass, dwarf eelgrass, mud shrimp, ghost shrimp and oysters), and bathymetry (intertidal and subtidal) are effective habitat classifiers for benthic macrofauna in the US Pacific Northwest. The presence/absence of eelgrass, mud shrimp and ghost shrimp are also effective habitat classifiers for intertidal nekton. These habitats are ecologically and environmentally important because they account for a large proportion of the area of many US Pacific Northwest estuaries and they are alternative states subject to change as a function of the major stressors (sedimentation, excess nutrients, invasive, non-indigenous species and sea level rise). Spatially (across multiple estuaries) and/or temporally (year-to-year at the same time of the year) recurring (“periodic’) across-habitat patterns of species richness, abundance, biomass and Bray-Curtis similarity indicate that these habitats act as templates (sensu Southwood (1977)) for benthic macrofaunal and nekton communities. The demonstration of periodic across-habitat patterns validate the ecological relevance of the habitats and suggest they can serve as elements in ecological periodic tables of benthic macrofauna and nekton usage.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY
WESTERN ECOLOGY DIVISION
PACIFIC COASTAL ECOLOGY BRANCH