Science Inventory

Ecological periodic tables for benthic macrofaunal usage of estuarine habitats

Citation:

FERRARO, S. P. AND F. A. COLE. Ecological periodic tables for benthic macrofaunal usage of estuarine habitats. Presented at 39th Benthic Ecology Meeting, Wilmington, NC, March 10 - 13, 2010.

Impact/Purpose:

Southwood (1977: Journal of Animal Ecology 46: 337-365), in his presidential address to the British Ecological Society, 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.

Description:

Southwood (1977: Journal of Animal Ecology 46: 337-365), in his presidential address to the British Ecological Society, 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 templet,” 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. Spatially and temporally recurring (“periodic”) across-habitat patterns of benthic macrofaunal species richness, abundance, biomass and Bray-Curtis similarity indicate that these habitats act as templates (sensu Southwood (1977)) for benthic macrofaunal 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 macrofaunal usage.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Product Published Date: 03/11/2010
Record Last Revised: 03/15/2010
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 218211

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