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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X

Abstract

KELAHER, BRENDAN P; CASTILLA, JUAN CARLOS  and  PRADO, LUIS. Is there redundancy in bioengineering for molluscan assemblages on the rocky shores of central Chile?. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2007, vol.80, n.2, pp.173-186. ISSN 0716-078X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0716-078X2007000200004.

Bioengineers modify habitats via their own physical structures and substantially increase local diversity in marine ecosystems. On rocky shores, there are large overlaps in the composition of communities associated with bioengineers that form complex mat-like habitats. We investigated the potential for redundancy in habitat provision by these types of habitats by comparing diverse molluscan assemblages associated with Perumytilus purpuratus mussel beds and algal turfs of Corallina officinalis var. chilenis, Gelidium chilense and Gastroclonium cylindricum. At three times between September 2003 and January 2004, we sampled the molluscan assemblages associated with each bioengineer at similar tidal heights on two rocky shores on the coast of central Chile. Of the 31 molluscan species identified, 30 were found in Corallina and 19-22 were identified from the other habitats. The pool of species found associated with each bioengineer overlapped greatly, demonstrating the potential for redundancy in habitat provision and little habitat-specificity. However, multivariate and univariate analyses showed all bioengineers except Gastroclonium contained a unique molluscan assemblage for at least one time of sampling because of variation in frequency of occurrence, richness and total abundance. Recent studies have highlighted many anthropogenic and natural processes that directly influence the diversity and composition of bioengineering species on rocky shores. We demonstrate that the loss of any particular bioengineer would not substantially alter the overall pool of molluscan species on the rocky shores of Chile. The loss of any bioengineer except Gastroclonium would, however, result in decreased local biodiversity because the molluscan assemblages in Perumytilus, Corallina and Gelidium, each contained a significantly different community structure for at least one time of sampling

Keywords : bioengineer; molluscs; redundancy; coralline turfs; mussels; rocky shores; Chile.

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