Consequences of ecological connectivity: the coastal ecosystem mosaic

Sheaves, Marcus (2009) Consequences of ecological connectivity: the coastal ecosystem mosaic. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 391. pp. 107-115.

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Connectivity links habitats in space and time. It is a key process that facilitates many life-history functions of myriad species in a variety of contexts over a wide range of scales. Perhaps its most obvious application is to the multifaceted linkages among the diverse habitat units comprising ecosystem complexes like the coastal ecosystem mosaic (CEM)—the tightly interlinked coastal, estuarine, wetland and freshwater habitats at the interface of land and sea. The ability to utilise this diversity of connected habitats is integral to the life histories of a broad spectrum of organisms, with connectivity between habitats being crucial to important functions like nursery utilisation. Although connectivity is an obvious feature of the CEM, investigation of its implications has largely been restricted to the migration of organisms. However, connectivity has much broader conceptual relevance. It is a pervasive and multifaceted process affecting and enabling the lives of organisms over the full range of conceptual scales, with ecosystem components connected by a diversity of factors, including physical and biological translocation of nutrients, ontogenetic, life history, spawning and feeding migrations, food-web dynamics, predator–prey interactions, and many more. All of these play crucial roles in structuring biological populations, communities and assemblages, and in driving the biological processes that support them. Moreover, connectivity is a prominent and necessary component of ecological concepts, ranging from estuarine dependence and metapopulation dynamics to foraging arena theory. Considering connectivity as a multifaceted process leads to specific hypotheses about the functioning of the CEM and similar ecosystem complexes.

Item ID: 5426
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1616-1599
Keywords: connectivity; coastal ecosystems; estuarine; wetland; ecosystem interactions; tropical biology; marine science
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2009 05:50
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 25%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 25%
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