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The Intertidal Zone of the North-East Atlantic Region

Chapter in book
Authors Stephen J. Hawkins
Kathryn E. Pack
Louise B. Firth
Nova Mieszkowska
Ally J. Evans
Gustavo M. Martins
Per Åberg
Leoni C. Adams
Francisco Arenas
Diana M. Boaventura
Katrin Bohn
C. Debora Borges
Joao J. Castro
Ross A. Coleman
Tasman P. Crowe
Teresa Cruz
Mark S. Davies
Graham Epstein
Joao Faria
Joao G. Ferreira
Natalie J. Frost
John N. Griffin
ME Hanley
Roger J.H. Herbert
Kierran Hyder
Mark P. Johnson
Fernando P. Lima
Patricia Masterson-Algar
Pippa J. Moore
Paula S Moschella
Gillian M. Notman
Federica G. Pannacciulli
Pedro A. Ribeiro
Antonio M Santos
Ana C.F. Silva
Martin W. Skov
Heather Sugden
Maria Vale
Kringpaka Wangkulangkul
Edward J.G. Wort
Richard C Thompson
Richard G. Hartnoll
Michael T. Burrows
Stuart R. Jenkins
Published in Interactions in the Marine Benthos: Global Patterns and Processes (Systematics Association Special Volume Series, pp. 7-46)
ISBN 9781108416085
Publisher Cambridge university press
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of marine sciences
Language en
Keywords Marine ecology, Rocky shore ecology, Plant animal interactions
Subject categories Ecology, Marine ecology


The rocky shores of the north-east Atlantic have been long studied. Our focus is from Gibraltar to Norway plus the Azores and Iceland. Phylogeographic processes shape biogeographic patterns of biodiversity. Long-term and broadscale studies have shown the responses of biota to past climate fluctuations and more recent anthropogenic climate change. Inter- and intra-specific species interactions along sharp local environmental gradients shape distributions and community structure and hence ecosystem functioning. Shifts in domination by fucoids in shelter to barnacles/mussels in exposure are mediated by grazing by patellid limpets. Further south fucoids become increasingly rare, with species disappearing or restricted to estuarine refuges, caused by greater desiccation and grazing pressure. Mesoscale processes influence bottom-up nutrient forcing and larval supply, hence affecting species abundance and distribution, and can be proximate factors setting range edges (e.g., the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula). Impacts of invasive non-native species are reviewed. Knowledge gaps such as the work on rockpools and host–parasite dynamics are also outlined.

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