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The interaction between nutrient availability and disturbance frequency on the diversity of benthic marine communities on the north-east coast of England

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Heather Sugden, Dr Jeremy Thomason


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1. Several theoretical models predict under what conditions maximum species diversity can be maintained, and they are often used to develop effective ecosystem management plans. 2. Two models that are currently used to predict patterns of species diversity were empirically tested in marine subtidal benthic communities of different successional stages. 3. The two models were: the interactive effects of nutrient availability and disturbance frequency proposed by Kondoh (2001; Proceedings of the Royal Society London B, 268, 269-271), and the intermediate disturbance hypothesis (IDH) proposed by Connell (1978; Science, 199, 1302-1310). 4. Interactive effects were found to be transient and only occurred in the older communities, while the unimodal pattern suggested by the IDH was not supported in either successional stage. 5. It is concluded that these models are very general and thus lack sufficient explanatory power. Both models require a number of specific prerequisites for maximum diversity to be found, and though applicable in many different ecosystems they need to be refined as tools in order that they can be effectively used in habitat management plans. © 2007 The Authors.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sugden H, Lenz M, Molis M, Wahl M, Thomason JC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Animal Ecology

Year: 2008

Volume: 77

Issue: 1

Pages: 24-31

Print publication date: 01/01/2008

ISSN (print): 0021-8790

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2656

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2007.01323.x

PubMed id: 17976183


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