Seasonality in coastal benthic ecosystems

Coma, R.; Ribes, M.; Gili, JM; Zabala, M.
Trends in Ecology and Evolution
For historical reasons, knowledge about seasonality in the dynamics of marine benthic suspension feeders from temperate areas comes mainly from studies of cold temperate seas. Recent surveys of Mediterranean taxa show different patterns from those observed in cold temperate seas, which are characterized by winter dormancy. In the Mediterranean, summer dormancy predominates among taxa and appears to be related to energetic constraints. Temperature and food availability are crucial to the dynamics of benthic suspension feeders. However, because these factors tend to be positively correlated in cold temperate seas, it is difficult to distinguish between their effects. Such correlation does not occur in Mediterranean ecosystems. The contrast between recent studies in the Mediterranean and in other areas can help to disentangle confounded environmental controls.
benthic suspension feeders, benthic-pelagic coupling
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