A hierarchical ecological classification system along the NE Atlantic coast: focusing on the local scale (Cantabria, N Spain)

Abstract: An ecological classification at the local scale may be a useful tool for conservation planning and for the implementation of specific management programmes in a region. For this purpose, a methodology previously applied on a small scale has been adapted to classify the coast of Cantabria (N Spain). This methodology includes a physical classification and biological validation. The shoreline was divided into 1 km stretches, and the abiotic variables (sea surface temperature, photosynthetically active radiation, significant wave height and coastal morphology) were recorded for each stretch. A hierarchical classification was proposed, with a first level that encompassed a grouping of quantitative variables based on SOM and k-mean analysis and a second level that subdivided the previous groups according to the categorical variable ?coastal morphology?. To validate the classification using biological data, cover of intertidal macroalgal species was obtained at 14 sites along the study area, and several statistical analyses were applied to test the ecological significance of this classification. Three physical units were obtained (western (W), central (C) and eastern (E) coast), based on abiotic variables. Each group was then subdivided into subunits according to its coastal morphology (cliffs or wave-cut platforms). A general agreement between the macroalgal distribution and physical units was accomplished. In the lower intertidal, Bifurcaria bifurcata and Halopteris scoparia dominated the western and central areas, whereas Corallina spp./Ellisolandia elongata and Gelidium spp. were most abundant towards the east. In contrast, throughout the middle intertidal, Corallina. spp./E. elongata were the dominant taxa. The classification system developed in this study completes a hierarchical framework for classifying the NE Atlantic coast, a promising approach that permits the application of the most suitable resolution in each case study that could be applicable to a wide range of coastal areas.

 Fuente: European Journal of Phycology Volume 52, 2017 - Issue 1 Pages: 75-89

Editorial: Taylor & Francis

 Año de publicación: 2017

Nº de páginas: 15

Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

DOI: 10.1080/09670262.2016.1221469

ISSN: 0967-0262,1469-4433

Proyecto europeo: info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/FP7/287844/EU/Towards Coast to Coast NETworks of marine protected areas (from the shore to the high and deep sea), coupled with sea-based wind energy potential/COCONET/

Url de la publicación: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09670262.2016.1221469