Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

    We have a manual that explains all the features 

Record number 439905
Title Ecosystem engineering by seagrasses interacts with grazing to shape an intertidal landscape
Author(s) Heide, T. van der; Eklof, J.S.; Nes, E.H. van; Zee, E.M. van der; Donadi, S.; Weerman, E.; Olff, H.; Eriksson, B.K.
Source PLoS One 7 (2012)8. - ISSN 1932-6203
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0042060
Department(s) Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management
Resource Ecology
WIMEK
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2012
Keyword(s) spatial vegetation patterns - geese branta-bernicla - brent geese - arid ecosystems - zostera-noltii - wadden sea - dynamics - organisms - desertification - exploitation
Abstract Self-facilitation through ecosystem engineering (i.e., organism modification of the abiotic environment) and consumer-resource interactions are both major determinants of spatial patchiness in ecosystems. However, interactive effects of these two mechanisms on spatial complexity have not been extensively studied. We investigated the mechanisms underlying a spatial mosaic of low-tide exposed hummocks and waterlogged hollows on an intertidal mudflat in the Wadden Sea dominated by the seagrass Zostera noltii. A combination of field measurements, an experiment and a spatially explicit model indicated that the mosaic resulted from localized sediment accretion by seagrass followed by selective waterfowl grazing. Hollows were bare in winter, but were rapidly colonized by seagrass during the growth season. Colonized hollows were heavily grazed by brent geese and widgeon in autumn, converting these patches to a bare state again and disrupting sediment accretion by seagrass. In contrast, hummocks were covered by seagrass throughout the year and were rarely grazed, most likely because the waterfowl were not able to employ their preferred but water requiring feeding strategy ('dabbling') here. Our study exemplifies that interactions between ecosystem engineering by a foundation species (seagrass) and consumption (waterfowl grazing) can increase spatial complexity at the landscape level
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