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Type: Journal article
Title: Fast growing oysters show reduced capacity to provide a thermal refuge to intertidal biodiversity at high temperatures
Author: McAfee, D.
O'Connor, W.
Bishop, M.
Citation: The Journal of animal ecology, 2017; 86(6):1352-1362
Publisher: Wiley
Issue Date: 2017
ISSN: 0021-8790
Statement of
Dominic McAfee, Wayne A. O’Connor, Melanie J. Bishop
Abstract: 1. Ecosystem engineers that modify the thermal environment experienced by associated organisms might assist in the climate change adaptation of species. This depends upon the ability of ecosystem engineers to persist and continue to ameliorate thermal stress under changing climatic conditions - traits that may display significant intraspecific variation. 2. In the physically stressful intertidal, the complex three-dimensional structure of oysters provides shading and traps moisture during aerial exposure at low tide. We assessed variation in the capacity of a faster- and slower-growing population of the Sydney Rock Oyster, Saccostrea glomerata, to persist, form three-dimensional structure and provide a cool microhabitat to invertebrates under warmer conditions. 3. The two populations of oysters were exposed to a temperature gradient in the field by attaching them to passively warmed white, grey and black stone pavers and their growth, survivorship and colonisation by invertebrates was monitored over a 12 month period. 4. Oysters displayed a trade-off between fast growth and thermal tolerance. The growth advantage of the fast-growing population diminished with increasing substrate temperature and at higher temperatures the faster-growing oysters suffered greater mortality, formed less habitat, and were consequently less effective at ameliorating low-tide air temperature extremes than slower-growing oysters. The greater survivorship of slower-growing oysters, in turn, produced a cooler microclimate which fed back to further bolster oyster survivorship. Invertebrate recruitment increased with habitat cover, and was greater among the slower than the faster-growing population. 5. Our results show that the capacity of ecosystem engineers to serve as microhabitat refugia to associated organisms in a warming climate displays marked intraspecific variation. Our study also adds to growing evidence that fast growth may come at the expense of thermal tolerance.
Keywords: Climate change adaptation; density dependence; ecosystem engineer; facilitation; refugia; stressor; temperature; trade-off
Rights: © 2017 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2017 British Ecological Society
RMID: 0030076422
DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.12757
Grant ID:
Appears in Collections:Ecology, Evolution and Landscape Science publications

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