Gennusa, Vincenzo (2012) Extreme events of disturbance like structural factors of assemblages on rocky shore. Doctoral Thesis.
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My research project consists of two experiments focused on intertidal assemblages of algae and invertebrates on rocky shores.
Spatial patterns of species distribution, abundance and diversity are generally ascribed to spatial variation in physical (e.g., disturbance) or biological (consumers, competition) processes. Conversely, Self Organized Criticality (SOC) theory proposes that local interactions between biotic and abiotic processes can strongly influence the large-scale properties of ecosystems and, consequently, spatial patterns would arise from interactions between organisms and the micro-environment. This model was examined in a wave-disturbed intertidal system dominated by Cystoseira compressa on rocky shores in the NW Mediterranean. Removal of Cystoseira was done creating two types of disturbance that simulate wave action effect on algal assemblages.
In the second experiment, it was examined how the variation of biodiversity (composition, specific richness and relative abundance of species) influences the capacity of assemblages to respond to extreme climate events, like peak in air temperature. Thermal stress events were applied to the experimental panels bearing different assembled species as pulse heat stress created by low-power propane heaters. In this experiment, the resistance and resilience of assemblages in response to different degrees of induced thermal stress will be evaluated regarding the community dynamics.
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