MUSEO ARGENTINO DE CIENCIAS NATURALES "BERNARDINO RIVADAVIA"
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Biogeographical Boundaries, Functional Group Structure and Diversity of Rocky Shore Communities along the Argentinean Coast
EVIE WIETERS; CHRISTOPHER MCQUAID; GABRIELA PALOMO; PAULA PAPPALARDO; SERGIO NAVARRETE
PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE
Lugar: San Francisco; Año: 2012 vol. 7 p. 1 - 1
We investigate the extent to which functional structure and spatial variability of intertidal communities coincide with major biogeographical boundaries, areas where extensive compositional changes in the biota are observed over a limited geographic extension. We then investigate whether spatial variation in the biomass of functional groups, over geographic (109s km) and local (109s m) scales, could be associated to species diversity within and among these groups. Functional community structure expressed as abundance (density, cover and biomass) and composition of major functional groups was quantified through field surveys at 20 rocky intertidal shores spanning six degrees of latitude along the southwest Atlantic coast of Argentina and extending across the boundaries between the Argentinean and Magellanic Provinces. Patterns of abundance of individual functional groups were not uniformly matched with biogeographical regions. Only ephemeral algae showed an abrupt geographical discontinuity coincident with changes in biogeographic boundaries, and this was limited to the mid intertidal zone. We identified 3?4 main ?groups? of sites in terms of the total and relative abundance of the major functional groups, but these did not coincide with biogeographical boundaries, nor did they follow latitudinal arrangement. Thus, processes that determine the functional structure of these intertidal communities are insensitive to biogeographical boundaries. Over both geographical and local spatial scales, and for most functional groups and tidal levels, increases in species richness within the functional group was significantly associated to increased total biomass and reduced spatial variability of the group. These results suggest that species belonging to the same functional group are sufficiently uncorrelated over space (i.e. metres and site-to-site ) to stabilize patterns of biomass variability and, in this manner, provide a buffer, or ??insurance??, against spatial variability in environmental conditions.