Markov chain analysis of succession in a rocky subtidal community
Hill, M. Forrest
Witman, Jon D.
MetadataShow full item record
KeywordMarkov chain; Sensitivity analysis; Transition matrix; Species diversity; Entropy; Dobrushin’s coefficient
We present a Markov chain model of succession in a rocky subtidal community based on a long-term (1986–1994) study of subtidal invertebrates (14 species) at Ammen Rock Pinnacle in the Gulf of Maine. The model describes successional processes (disturbance, colonization, species persistence, and replacement), the equilibrium (stationary) community, and the rate of convergence. We described successional dynamics by species turnover rates, recurrence times, and the entropy of the transition matrix. We used perturbation analysis to quantify the response of diversity to successional rates and species removals. The equilibrium community was dominated by an encrusting sponge (Hymedesmia) and a bryozoan (Crisia eburnea). The equilibrium structure explained 98% of the variance in observed species frequencies. Dominant species have low probabilities of disturbance and high rates of colonization and persistence. On average, species turn over every 3.4 years. Recurrence times varied among species (7–268 years); rare species had the longest recurrence times. The community converged to equilibrium quickly (9.5 years), as measured by Dobrushin’s coefficient of ergodicity. The largest changes in evenness would result from removal of the dominant sponge Hymedesmia. Subdominant species appear to increase evenness by slowing the dominance of Hymedesmia. Comparison of the subtidal community with intertidal and coral reef communities revealed that disturbance rates are an order of magnitude higher in coral reef than in rocky intertidal and subtidal communities. Colonization rates and turnover times, however, are lowest and longest in coral reefs, highest and shortest in intertidal communities, and intermediate in subtidal communities.
Author Posting. © University of Chicago Press, 2004. This article is posted here by permission of University of Chicago Press for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in American Naturalist 164 (2004): E46-E61.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
The ecology of colonial radiolarians : their colony morphology, trophic interactions and associations, behavior, distribution, and the photosynthesis of their symbionts Swanberg, Neil Ralph (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1979-08)Colonial radiolarians (Spumellaria) are among the most common and abundant large zooplankton, but they have been little studied by modern biologists. Colonies were found on 98% of epipelagic diving stations in the period ...
On the midwater fish faunas of Gulf Stream rings with respect to habitat differences between slope water and northern Sargasso Sea Jahn, Andrew E. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1976-04)Forty-three 1000-in oblique Isaacs-Kidd midwater trawl collections were made on six cruises. In most cases, these were accompanied by 1500-m hydrocasts and plankton tows to 800 m. The fish collections comprise 19,400 ...
Nutritional ecology of Agalma okeni and other siphonophores from the epipelagic western North Atlantic Ocean Biggs, Douglas C. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1976-05)The feeding and fishing behavior of siphonophores in their natural environment: was observed by SCUBA diving at 171 stations in warm-water areas of the Western North Atlantic Ocean. Calycophorae and Physonectae showed ...