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Spatial distribution pattern analysis of subtidal macroalgae assemblages by a non-destructive rapid assessment method

, : Spatial distribution pattern analysis of subtidal macroalgae assemblages by a non-destructive rapid assessment method. Journal of Sea Research 67(1): 0-43

The extensive field work carried out over the last century has allowed the worldwide description of general distribution patterns and specific composition of rocky intertidal communities. However, the information concerning subtidal communities on hard substrates is more recent and scarce due to the difficulties associated with working in such environments. In this work, a non-destructive method is applied to the study and mapping of subtidal rocky bottom macroalgae assemblages on the coast of Cantabria (N Spain) which is quick, easy and economical.Gelidium corneumandCystoseira baccatawere the dominant species, however, the composition and coverage of macroalgae assemblages varied significantly at different locations and depth ranges. The high presence ofLaminaria ochroleucaandSaccorhiza polyschides, characteristic of colder waters, shows the transitional character of this coastal area. The results obtained throughout this study have been very useful to the application of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD 2/6/EC) and could be of great interest for the future conservation and management of these ecosystems (e.g. Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC).We provide extensive distribution maps of key subtidal macroalgae species. We analyze basic community structure along vertical and horizontal gradients. G. corneumand C. baccatawere dominant species with a high presence of Laminarians. Using a non-destructive rapid assessment method based on continuous transects has been effective. The methodology and information provided are useful for monitoring and management..


DOI: 10.1016/j.seares.2011.09.006

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