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Seagrass epifaunal communities of Barkley Sound : epifaunal diversity varies across small spatial and temporal scales Whippo, Ross Douglas Byron


The assembly and persistence of ecological communities is a phenomenon that occurs across large spatial and temporal scales. However, the relative effects of regional versus local processes on community structure are not well understood in marine ecosystems. In order to understand how scale can alter processes that drive variation in community assembly it is necessary to determine patterns of diversity across multiple scales. Here, I used invertebrate epifaunal communities in the foundation species Zostera marina to test 1) whether this marine community exhibits meadow-scale variability through time, and 2) whether we can identify patterns of connectivity and diversity within and among meadows in the same region. I found that seagrass epifaunal communities are variable in terms of their rarefied richness, alpha and beta diversity, and evenness among meadows. In addition, differences in these metrics were detected over the course of a summer season.

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