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Algae > Volume 17(1); 2002 > Article
Algae 2002;17(1): 41-51. doi: https://doi.org/10.4490/ALGAE.2002.17.1.041
Patterns of Interactions among Neighbor Species in a High Intertidal Algal Community
Jeong Ha Kim
Department of Biological Science, Sungkyunkwan University
Three dominant rocky intertidal macroalgae, the fucoids fucus gardneri and Pelvetiopsis limitata (Phaeophyta) and the red alga Mazzaella cornucopiae (= Iridaea cornucopiae) on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada were used in a series of field experiments to examine interspecific interactions. These experiments showed complex patterns which included an interchange of negative (inhibition) and positive (facilitation) interactions depending on neighbor distance. Less fucoid recruitment occurred in the plots with greater percent cover of a turfforming red alga, M. cornucopiae. However, experimentally removing Mazzaella turf (the turf was considered to be blocking fucoid recruits or shading growing recruits) did not increase recruitment. This result indicated that there may be another factor(s) involved in the survivorship of juvenile fucoids in the turf-removed plots. Morphological differences in adult plants between Mazzaella and the two fucoids resulted in another type of interaction; these began when fucoids successfully settled and grew nearby or within the red algal turf. By monitoring microhabitat at the individual plant level for two years, I found that survivorship of fucoid recruits showed different species-specific patterns. The patterns also varied as the microhabiat changed from Mazzaella turf edge to open space. For F. gardneri, longevity respectively goes from low to high to intermediate with increasing distance from the turf edge. In contrast, longevity of P. limitata at all distances tested was similar. A reason for greater longevity of F. gardneri individuals at edge microhabitats may be that these sites have one side open to light and nutrients and another site that buffers them from desiccation and wave impact. In the Mazzaella-Fucus interaction, neighbor distance was a key factor in determining whether the outcome of the interaction would be competition or facilitation (or protection). This study provides experimental evidence that detectable biological interactions occur in this upper intertidal algal community where physical conditions are usually severe, and also indicates the importance of small scale examination in understanding macroalgal interactions in intertidal habitats.
Key words: competition, facilitation, fucoid, intertidal, macroalgae, microhabitat, neighbor distance, turf algae

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