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Free Content Littoral community structure and zonation on the rocky shores of Bermuda

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Abstract:

The rocky littoral of Bermuda is accessible, geologically homogeneous and of moderate biotic diversity. Despite the low tidal range, zonation displays classical characteristics. Heights of littoral zones and the vertical distributions of species were correlated with an exposure index based on wind energy, bottom topography and arc of exposure. In many cases correlations were improved by adjustment for shore slope. In exposed parts of the south shore the littoral zone is expanded upward the equivalent of eleven tidal ranges. In the very sheltered environment of inland, tidal, seawater ponds, the top of the littoral is at mean high tide level. The shores, sounds and harbors of the islands provide a complete gradient of intermediate situations. The midlittoral zone is dominated by red algal turfs of Polysiphonia howei and Herposiphonia secunda with scattered green Cladopheropsis membranacea. Characteristic fauna are the abundant Spiroglyphus annulatus, a tubicolous mollusc, the keyhole limpet, Fissurella barbadensis, and the mussel, Brachydontes domingensis. The barnacle, Chthamalus stellatus, is common from mid to high exposures at the top of the midlittoral zone. The burrowing urchin, Echinometra lacunter, is characteristic of the lower midlittoral in exposed locations. The supralittoral fringe and zone is dominated by the blue green alga, Scytonema hofmanii. The alga, Bostrychia tenella, typifies the fringe and the periwinkle, Nodilittorina tuberculata, the lower supralittoral zone. At higher elevations, angiosperms, such as coast spurge, Chamaesyche buxifolia, and sea-side oxeye, Borrichia arborescens, are common.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1985-11-01

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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