Plant Species Diversity in a Marine Intertidal Community: Importance of Herbivore Food Preference and Algal Competitive Abilities

@article{Lubchenco1978PlantSD,
  title={Plant Species Diversity in a Marine Intertidal Community: Importance of Herbivore Food Preference and Algal Competitive Abilities},
  author={Jane Lubchenco},
  journal={The American Naturalist},
  year={1978},
  volume={112},
  pages={23 - 39}
}
Field experiments demonstrate that the herbivorous marine snail Littorina littorea controls the abundance and type of algae in high intertidal tide pools in New England. Here the highest species diversity of algae occurs at intermediate Littorina densities. This unimodal relationship between algal species diversity and herbivore density occurs because the snail's preferred food is competitively dominant in tide pool habitats. Moderate grazing allows inferior algal species to persist and intense… Expand
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