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Self-organized spatial patterns on intertidal mudflats: Do they affect ecosystem functioning?

Aardema, H.M. (2012) Self-organized spatial patterns on intertidal mudflats: Do they affect ecosystem functioning? Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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Abstract

Self-organized spatial patterning is a common phenomenon in all ecosystems and is often associated with a positive effect on ecosystem functioning. Also on intertidal mudflats, dominating organisms form regular spatial patterns of different sizes and persistence. The main species who organise themselves in spatial patterns on intertidal mudflats are the blue mussel (Mytilus edulis L.), dwarf eelgrass (Zostera noltii) and benthic diatoms. In this thesis three case studies will be presented considering these species and their spatial self-organisation. Overall it turns out that the underlying mechanism in all three species is the same, although specific interactions differ. In this mechanism, the so-called scale-dependent feedback model, a short-scale positive feedback and a large-scale negative feedback operate on the community, thereby creating spatial patterns. The effect of those patterns on ecosystem functioning is still under debate, but most evidence leads to the conclusion that self-organized spatial patterns increase resilience and productivity of the ecosystem. A future management application of understanding self-organised spatial patterns is their ability to predict ecosystem health and current stress levels.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:49
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:49
URI: http://fse.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl/id/eprint/10367

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