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Intertidal colonization rates. A matched latitude, north v. south, remote v. near shore island experiment

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Colonization of artificial substrata was monitored on sheltered rocky shores at Husvik, South Georgia (54° 11′S; 36° 40′W) and Cumbrae, Scotland (55° 46′N; 4° 55′W) from mid summer to early autumn. South Georgia is a remote island (1,330 km from other land); Cumbrae is only 2 km from nearby coasts. Both islands were heavily glaciated for a period up to about 10,000 ybp, so the intertidal fauna is of geologically recent origin. The South Georgian fauna is depauperate and consists mainly of direct developers; that of Cumbrae is rich and largely larviparous. Colonization rates at Cumbrae were one to four orders of magnitude greater than at Husvik. It is suggested that the fauna of South Georgian shores stems from colonization by rafting from remote sources, while Cumbrae has been supplied predominantly by short-range pelagic larval dispersal. The measured differences in colonization rates reflect the substantial local advantage of larval dispersal over direct development in established communities.
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Keywords: South Georgia; biogeography; colonization; intertidal fauna; rafting

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University Marine Biological Station Millport, Isle of Cumbrae, Scotland KA28 0EG, U.K.

Publication date: 1998-03-01

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