SS3.15 Physical Forcing and Pelagic-Benthic Interactions in Aquatic Systems
Date: Thursday, June 13, 2002
Time: 5:00:00 PM
Location: Oak Bay
 
RoblesCD, California State University, Los Angeles, USA, crobles@calstatela.edu
Desharnais, R, A, California State University, Los Angeles, USA, rdeshar@calstatela.edu
 
MODELING THE PHENOMENON OF INTERTIDAL MUSSEL BEDS: LOCAL BIOTIC FEEDBACK IN GRADIENTS OF PHYSICAL FORCING
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Beds of the mussel Mytilus californianus are the most massive and visually striking biological structures of temperate seashores. The beds have abrupt boundaries, even though major environmental gradients are comparatively gradual. Upper and lower boundaries of the mussel zone converge from high- to low wave energy locations. These distributional features were simulated with stochastic cellular automata in which boundaries were set by equilibria between mussel productivity (recruitment and growth) and mortality (principally size-specific predation). Rates of production and mortality varied gradually with wave energy (horizontal dimension) and tidal emergence (vertical dimension), and they were modified at any point in the gradients by spatial configurations of the size classes of the mussels in the neighborhood of the point. Such neighborhood effects exerted feedback that produced clustering of individuals and the abruptness of boundaries. Forcing of mussel recruitment, growth, and predation by varying wave action over the horizontal dimension results in vertical shifts in the shore level at which the equilibria occur, accounting for the convergence of boundaries. We term these spatially structured dynamics the “adjusted equilibrium hypothesis”.