Article: The structure and replenishment of rocky shore intertidal communities and biogeographic comparisons

Journal Article
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Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Schiel, D. R.
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Marine scientists have made many recent advances in understanding the connections between the structure of benthic communities, replenishment of populations through dispersal processes, and interactions with the nearshore water mass. In this review, some of the themes and models relating to these processes and interactions are discussed. Benthic–pelagic coupling models are in the early stages of development, but encompass oceanic processes such as upwelling and downwelling, the transport of larvae and their arrival back to shore to settle. Most current knowledge of these processes is based on a few taxa, especially barnacles and mussels. This is discussed with reference and comparison to macroalgae, which dominate much of the intertidal zone on temperate rocky shores, and have quite different life histories, transport and settlement processes. The role of key, habitat-dominating species is discussed, particularly their early life histories, with reference to the differences in community composition, nearshore dynamics and settlement processes in different countries. Finally, some suggestions are made for future work to fill gaps in understanding about rocky shore communities.