Increasing anthropogenic pressures are causing long-lasting regime shifts from high-diversity ecosystems to low-diversity degraded ones. Understanding the effects of multiple threats on ecosystems, and identifying processes allowing for the recovery of biodiversity, are the current major challenges in ecology. In several temperate marine areas, large parts of rocky subtidal habitats characterised by high diversity have been completely degraded to barren grounds by overfishing, including illegal date mussel fishing. Bare areas are characterized by the dominance of sea urchins whose grazing perpetuates the impact of overfishing. We investigated experimentally the separate and combined effects of nutrient enrichment and sea urchin exclusion on the recovery of barren grounds. Our results indicate that the two factors have a synergistic effect leading to the re-establishment of erect macroalgal canopies …

Grazer removal and nutrient enrichment as recovery enhancers for overexploited rocky subtidal habitats

Simonetta Fraschetti
2014

Abstract

Increasing anthropogenic pressures are causing long-lasting regime shifts from high-diversity ecosystems to low-diversity degraded ones. Understanding the effects of multiple threats on ecosystems, and identifying processes allowing for the recovery of biodiversity, are the current major challenges in ecology. In several temperate marine areas, large parts of rocky subtidal habitats characterised by high diversity have been completely degraded to barren grounds by overfishing, including illegal date mussel fishing. Bare areas are characterized by the dominance of sea urchins whose grazing perpetuates the impact of overfishing. We investigated experimentally the separate and combined effects of nutrient enrichment and sea urchin exclusion on the recovery of barren grounds. Our results indicate that the two factors have a synergistic effect leading to the re-establishment of erect macroalgal canopies …
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/774091
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