Only the Strong Will Survive: Red Tides as Community-Structuring Forces in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.

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Only the Strong Will Survive: Red Tides as Community-Structuring Forces in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.

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Title: Only the Strong Will Survive: Red Tides as Community-Structuring Forces in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.
Author: Dupont, JM; Coy, C
Abstract: A harmful algal bloom (red tide) and associated anoxic/ hypoxic event in 2005 resulted in massive fish kills and collapse of epibenthic communities in depths less than 25 m along the central west Florida shelf. An ongoing collaborative monitoring study involving University of South Florida and Florida Aquarium science divers provided a focused time series (2005 to 2007) of natural hardbottom/ ledge community succession after the red tide disturbance. Coral species, including Oculina diffusa, Solenastrea hyades, Stephanocoenia intersepta, and Siderastrea spp., appear to have bleached during the red tide disturbance, but recovered soon thereafter. Successional stages of fish communities tend to follow a predictable progression and revert to a pre-red tide state. This is in contrast to MacArthur-Wilson mechanisms which have been used to describe species diversity of patch or discontinuous habitats as a balance between immigration and extinction rates (equilibrium). Regular occurrence of red tides, along with fluctuating sea temperatures, turbidity, hurricanes, and other disturbances in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, may prevent communities from reaching a dynamic equilibrium. These results corroborate previous predictions that the fluctuating nature of the shallow eastern Gulf of Mexico may limit the effective species pool of colonists.
Description: American Academy of Underwater Sciences (http://www.aaus.org/)
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/8008
Date: 2008

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