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

  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},
  pages={23 - 39}
  • J. Lubchenco
  • Published 1 January 1978
  • Environmental Science
  • The American Naturalist
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… 

Plant-animal diversity relationships in a rocky intertidal system depend on invertebrate body size and algal cover.

It is found that diverse algal communities hosted more species of both large and small invertebrates than the average algal monoculture but that the mechanisms underlying this pattern differed substantially for organisms of different size.

Mixed species diets enhance the growth of two rocky intertidal herbivores

It seems likely that complementary nutritional quality, chemistry, or morphology among prey species contributed to the positive effects of diet species richness on herbivore per formance, and findings for taxonomically and ecologically distinct herbivores suggest that such effects of diets richness on consumer performance may be widespread among marine generalist Herbivores.

The functional roles of herbivores in the rocky intertidal systems in Chile : A review of food preferences and consumptive effects

This paper reviews recent knowledge about the functional roles that herbivores have in intertidal communities in Chile. Specifically, I review field and laboratory studies dealing with the food

Effects of avian grazing on the algal community and small invertebrates in the rocky intertidal zone

Results suggest that avian grazers may act as habitat modifiers rather than exploitative competitors for the small herbivorous crustaceans, and function as ecosystem engineers, regulating community structure in a manner different to invertebrate herbivores in rocky intertidal habitats.

Plant species loss decreases arthropod diversity and shifts trophic structure.

The results demonstrate that, over the long term, the loss of plant species propagates through food webs, greatly decreasing arthropod species richness, shifting a predator-dominated trophic structure to being herbivore dominated, and likely impacting ecosystem functioning and services.

Seaweed richness and herbivory increase rate of community recovery from disturbance.

Herbivory and species richness should jointly accelerate recovery wherever palatable species inhibit late-successional, herbivore-resistant species and recruitment and survival of new colonists is promoted by local species richness.

Relative and interactive effects of plant and grazer richness in a benthic marine community.

The effect of algal richness on algal biomass accumulation was far stronger when herbivores were absent, suggesting that grazers can utilize the increased productivity and mask the positive effects of plant biodiversity on primary production.

Feeding selectivity of the herbivorous fish Scartichthys viridis: effects on macroalgal community structure in a temperate rocky intertidal coastal zone

The selective feeding displayed by S. viridis, its high numerical abundance, and the results of the herbivore exclusion experiment suggest its importance in maintaining the low abundance of foliose macroalgae and the high relative cover of brown and red crustose Macroalgae, characteristic of many low to mid rocky intertidal areas along the coast of central Chile.

Seaweed-Herbivore Interactions: Grazing as Biotic Filtering in Intertidal Antarctic Ecosystems

Consumers constitute a key component of the environmental filters that restrict the establishment of colonists into local assemblages. Thus, the trophic activity of consumers, particularly grazers,

Marine microbenthic community structure regulated by nitrogen loading and grazing pressure

It is demonstrated that herbivores and nutrients have strong and balancing effects on marine microbenthic community structure.



Experimental Evaluation of Ecological Dominance in a Rocky Intertidal Algal Community

Algal succession in deeper Portage Head tidepools was found to be relatively slow with no clear dominance expressed after 5 yr, and the rate of algal succession following removal of the dominant algal species or of Strongylocentrotus is proportional to the degree of wave exposure.

Food Web Complexity and Species Diversity

  • R. Paine
  • Environmental Science
    The American Naturalist
  • 1966
It is suggested that local animal species diversity is related to the number of predators in the system and their efficiency in preventing single species from monopolizing some important, limiting,

Herbivores and the Number of Tree Species in Tropical Forests

  • D. Janzen
  • Environmental Science
    The American Naturalist
  • 1970
Any event that increases the efficiency of the predators at eating seeds and seedlings of a given tree species may lead to a reduction in population density of the adults of that species and/or to increased distance between new adults and their parents.

The Pisaster-Tegula Interaction: Prey Patches, Predator Food Preference, and Intertidal Community Structure

Analysis of relative growth and reproduction indicates that beyond a certain size (16 mm) large individuals perform less well in the upper than those in the lower intertidal zone, and the zoogeographic homogeneity of the Pacific rocky coastline community are discussed in relation to three intermeshing ecological processes.

Biological Accommodation in the Benthic Community at McMurdo Sound, Antarctica

Data from the field surveys and the energetics studies suggest that Mycale is prevented from dominating the space resource by the predation of two asteroids.


Observations of the rate and pattern of algal succession for periods of up to three years showed that following an initial establishment of new species, brown algae began to dominate and the rate of domination is related to the area’s tidal height, with succession most rapid in the lower intertidal areas or subtidally.

Alleopathy and spatial competition among coral reef invertebrates.

  • J. JacksonL. Buss
  • Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1975
Evidence suggests that alleochemical provide a wide-spread, specific, and complex mechanism for interference competition for space among natural populations of coral reef organisms.

Species Diversity Gradients: Synthesis of the Roles of Predation, Competition, and Temporal Heterogeneity

It is suggested that the "predation" and "competition" hypotheses of community organization and species diversity are complementary, and that Predator-mediated escapes by primary producers from herbivores may explain the apparent importance of interspecific competition in certain primary producer associations.

Community Development and Persistence in a Low Rocky Intertidal Zone

Results of manipulations during both primary and secondary succession indicate that Littorina littorea, the only large, abundant herbivore in the low zone, has no direct effect on perennating or established Chondrus, or on its extensive, encrusting holdfast.