In this paper we review the temporal patterns of variation of rocky intertidal resident fish assemblages and discuss possible mechanisms that may explain these patterns. These assemblages tend to be highly resilient and stable on an inter-annual basis, but tend to undergo marked seasonal fluctuations, as different species recruit and reach different phases of their life cycles. Larval supply is usually not a limiting factor suggesting that post-recruitment deterministic mechanisms exert a strong influence on assemblage organization. At methodological level, it is argued that traditional destructive sampling techniques should be avoided whenever possible. It is proposed that a deeper understanding of these assemblages requires more detailed information on intraspecific interactions between members of each constituent species, and information on the interactions between limited numbers of species for which mutually influences are particularly strong. It is argued that size, topography and biotic cover of a pool may provide a limited number of favourable sites for fishes of a given species and class size so that intraspecific competition, and possibly predation of the individuals less able to get access to best sites, may explain to a considerable extent the inter-annual stability and resilience of these assemblages.
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 30, 2005
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