The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research project: The role of habitat gaps and oceanography on the biogeography of rocky intertidal species over historic time scales

Currently Active: 
Yes

Physical and biotic forces are responsible for shaping the distribution, connectivity, abundance and size structure of populations of coastal species. This project will assess the relative importance of habitat gaps and local/regional oceanography on spatio-temporal patterns of regional abundance, size-structure, range limits and population connectivity for rocky intertidal species with widely divergent life histories / evolutionary lineages.

Project Overview

Physical and biotic forces are responsible for shaping the distribution, connectivity, abundance and size structure of populations of coastal species across their geographic ranges. For example, local / regional variation in oceanographic variables (e.g. sea-surface temperature) shapes the spatial organization and composition of ecological communities, and distance among suitable habitats is a major factor influencing population connectivity and persistence. However, the relative influence of physical and biotic forces is highly dependent upon species’ life history, dispersal capacity (i.e. larval dispersal) and evolutionary history. Rocky intertidal species are ideal for exploring these relationships because they contain high diversity of life history strategies and phylogenetic diversity, have a strict habitat requirement, and are easily to manipulate for experiments. In addition, such system is ideal to extract historical information. Intertidal habitats have long been studied by ecologist, and intertidal species often have a large presence in museum collections dating back over 150 years. This provides the rare opportunity to add the historic perspective needed to understand temporal ecological and biogeographic patterns (e.g. geographic distribution and size-structure).

The objective of this project is to assess the relative importance of habitat gaps and local/regional oceanography on spatio-temporal patterns of regional abundance, size-structure, range limits and population connectivity for rocky intertidal species with widely divergent life histories / evolutionary lineages. This project will collect and integrate data from various sources, including modern and historic field surveys, museum collections, population genetics, and available geo-referenced oceanographic databases.

This project has been funded by SPITFIRE

Associated research themes

Ecology and Evolution Lab

Mark Chapman's Lab

Related research groups

Marine Biology and Ecology

Staff

Share this research project Facebook Google+ Twitter Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×